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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 7, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

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writing of the constitution. those are the two key events, and everybody who played a major role in those events can claim to be a founding father. obviously the older ones had careers before the american revolution, the younger ones hat careers that went on quite a few years after the signing of the constitution. .. franklin, the oldest, born in 1706. he knows cotton mather and the died in 1790. he signs both the declaration of independence and the constitution. the last to die was james madison. he is born in 1751, and then he do is in 1836. 85 years old. so, he has seen the fight over missouri being admitted to the
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union. he sees nullification crisis but he is the but he is the last one. aaron burr dies after he does. that is sort of the other side. >> host: in 2006 you wrote "what would the founding fathers do?: our questions, their answers" and in that you write the founders invite our questions now because they invited discussion when they lived. they were argumentative, expansive know it alls hanging their ideas out to dry in public speeches and in journalism. proud of doing that and this is virtually unique in the world. holland had been a republican though it was going down the tubes.
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this was a unique form of government being created and compared to all the competitors, monarchies and what not it is open. it is based on popular rule. the franchise was restricted in a lot of ways that there is a franchise so voters, the electorate has to be appealed fraud to -- to. they do this constantly and the lot of them are journalists. they write for the newspapers. some of them are professional journalists. alexander hamilton founded a newspaper that is still going on at the new york post. he found it. benjamin franklin of course was the great american publisher. sam adams where the publisher. it is hard to think of founders who didn't write journalism. george washington didn't. but that is very rare.
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even someone like james madison who didn't particularly white and wasn't great at it, he screwed himself up and wrote 29 federalist papers which were op-ed pieces in newspapers. these men know that they have to put themselves out there for the american public which is their constituency. noels. no it alls. they were well-educated. the colleges we have, we have a handful of colleges. they are tiny. harvard or king's college of, columbia or yale or princeton. they have a few dozen students like the thousands that they have today.
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most of these men were college graduates. those who weren't made sure that they read all their lives. they felt that they had to be up on the news of the day and the political theory of the day. if you listen to there debate you would have fought the first two names were the celebrated. he is always called the celebrated montesquieu and they knew their ancient history. they knew their english history. their recent english history and their ancient history. history of the classical world. history of rome. history of greece. they didn't always admire what they read. the federalist papers, the history of the greek city states is disgusting because they go through cycles of tyranny and chaos and what not and that is
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what he hopes america can avoid. you have to know the negative examples as well. >> host: you also say and ferret may find paraphrasing this wrong that our founding fathers were less well-traveled the personal perhaps less sophisticated than high school seniors today or veterans from iraq and afghanistan? >> it is harder to get around the world. crossing the atlantic ocean takes 20 days if you are really lucky. it can take 80 days if you fall upon icebergs and storms. john adams crosses the atlantic on one of his voyages and the ship is struck by lightning and everybody on board -- and to what makes landfall in europe and all the passengers have to take turns because the ship is filling with water. so it is hard to get around the.
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is hard to get around the united states. to go from new york city to albany, new york. if you took a horse that would take you three days on your own horse or in a coach. if you took them both up the hudson that would take three days if the wind was right. of the wind was bad it could take you ten days to get from new york city to albany. on a train it is like what is a few hours? there are restrictions that come from not being able to get around. the flip side of that is what they did know they knew very >> host: from "what would the founding fathers do?: our questions, their answers" richard brookhiser writes the founders did not answer all or even most of our questions. they can't because they couldn't answer all of theirs or they had too many answers.
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they disagreed among themselves. they pass these disagreements and the disposition to disagree on to us. contention is as much a part of their legacy as their principles. >> we have to understand one of the things the founders leave us but is the two party system. they didn't intend to do that. i think there was a notion coming out of the experience of ratifying the constitution that they wouldn't be subject to partisanship of that kind. everybody understood there would be arguments and factions. madison and the federalists write about factions. he treats them almost like a doctor who is putting on rubber gloves to deal with germs. he thinks factions are dangerous. they have to be controlled. the government has to be set up
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in such a way that no one faction can dominate the others. there is a feeling that we the fathers, the people who are writing this document, will somehow be above all that. two years after the constitution is up and running they have a two party system. they themselves have set one up and the first one was the republicans, thomas jefferson and james madison versus the federalist, hamilton and john adams. they go at it. one of the most common questions is they came back and saw now, if they saw the republican primaries, criticisms of obama, what would they say about this yelling and mania? i always say congratulations. you have called it all down. you are less crazy, less dishonest.
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it is less frantic. you have really cleaned this up. if you really want to read maniac and insanity you have to go back to the 1790s and 1800s up to the war of 1812 and part of that is it is all new. if you lose you have another chance in two years or four years or six years whatever the cycle is. and the law says that in the 1790s. that is what the law said. practice is another. experience is another. you have to experience those cycles before you believe it. when hamilton and jefferson are going at it in a partisan fashion there is a real fear. jefferson is afraid of hamilton and his cronies continuing to
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stay in power. said they will ruin everything. we will never get them out. and hamilton is afraid of jefferson. his power come in like the french revolution. there's a real fear that if the other side gets in that will be it and there's no understanding that there can be a second chance. that is something they had to learn and the country had to learn. >> host: from 2000 to your book "america's first dynasty: the adamses, 1735-1918," you write no family will ever be as famous as the adamses whose role in the founding gives them a leg up even on the roosevelts that is at long as there are elections people will vote for candidates
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whose names they recognize. as the tribute democracy pace to aristocracy. >> guest: that is what the adamses believed and what they proved in their own insurance. look at the first seven presidents. george washington is childless. thomas jefferson has daughters. james madison has a stepson. james monroe has daughters and number 7, and rejection. the second president, john adams has a son. his eldest son john quincy adams becomes the sixth president. only one had sons. one becomes the sixth president. american politicsaw i can cha.aughters but sons able to
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contend for those offices. but so the adamses saw in their own family that having a name, having an experience, having a history, gives you a leg up in democratic politics. >> from america's first dynasty, all men have flaws and ticks. the flaws of the adamses limited their public effectiveness. although two of them became president they were failures in office. if the two adams adminis contend for those offices if the two adams administration for the family absolutely legacy we would not be interested in them. for the last 50 years there has been an effort to reevaluate the administration apart by positing him as a moderate mid point between the extremism of thomas jefferson republicans and
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alexander hamilton. >> i take a minority view of people who write about john adams. when you write about people you take their side. you become their partisans. you just do. it is a different thing. i did not think i could write such a book about a person who is completely helpful. if you are writing about an ordinary human being you do take their side. have found ways of john adams. and charles francis and henry adams. i don't think john adams was a successful president. he had personality kicks that name a bad executive. he had a temper he could not control.
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he was too impulsive. as president he is trying to stay out of war with france which at that moment is more aggressive than the two superpower's britain and france going at it for 25 years and he does manage to stay out of war with france but does it in such a slipshod, uncontrolled way that he destroyed his own political party and who wants to do that? i don't think he was a good politician or a good president. he was a good diplomat and a great patriot. fascinating writer and a fascinating mind and his descendants have their own virtues. john quincy adams fire don't think is a successful president. another one term. his greatness was secretary of state.
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he writes the monroe doctrine for president james monroe. his second great this is when he goes to the house of representatives after being president and he fights the south and the slave power. that is a case-john quincy adams is a real son of a bitch. one i wrote the book how to live right about this guy? how can i write about this guy? he is awful. he is a full. i found he wasn't always a full. but he could really be hateful land he channels that you had to be a real son of a gun. he was defying the majority sentiment in that body and you had to be tough and you had to be pretty unpleasant.
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why the years 1735-1918? john adams is born in 1735 and henry is a fourth generation. he dies in 1918. that is the span of history these formats cover. henry is of the fourth generation, the grandson of john quincy adams, the great-grandson of john adams. he does so behind-the-scenes. the looking back at the history of america.
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he is trying to understand what this is all about and he is trying to sum it up and interestingly here is the man -- he is a sign of things like the defendant of the -- is history of the administrations of thomas jefferson and james madison are basically written from a populist point of view. as the heroes of those books, not other great men in them because he argues they are all boobs and failures. they all screw up. jefferson does. madison those. napoleon does. they all think they are accomplishing this and it ends up being something over here. the heroes of those books are the american people and you have to read them carefully to get that because he is a very subtle
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writer. but that is really the direction. these are big fat books. that is the direction this story takes and it is interesting that this bitter, proud, unhappy, willful, wealthy heir to three generations of history when comes down to it, the american people. >> host: ever had discussion about the adams family with david mccullough? if >> i have run into david in the book history circuit. the one encounter we had in washington years ago like ten years ago and washington end and we, university of virginia having an alumni program in the summer so they invited david
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mccullough to open it up with a keynote presentation and there were going to be seminars for the alumni and i was to give the closing talk. i went to one of david at seminars and do was just great. the audience loved it. he is such a charming and informed guy but someone asked a very interesting question. who was the most dangerous man of the founding. he said alexander hamilton. and he gave what john adams would say about alexander hamilton who hated alexander hamilton. i had just finished my hamilton book. i was sitting in the back of the room. this was terrible. was like god is pronouncing against my guy. he finish the answer and i piped up and i said arnold, and he
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said yes? benedict arnold was worse than alexander hamilton. so i thought i got it on record that the only major general in history to commit treason was the worst guy -- i felt i had won that point. >> host: this is our in that program. the first sunday of every month we feature one author and his or her body of work. this month is author and historian and senior editor at "national review" richard brookhiser. mr. brookhiser is the author of 11 books. here they are. beginning in 1986 story: how democrats and republican re-elected reagan," 1991 1991 "the way of the wasp," george washington," guided our first president in war and peace," "alexander hamilton, american," "america's first dynasty: the adamses, 1735-1918" in 2002 about the adamses. gentleman revolutionary:
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gouverneur morris, the rake who wrote the constitution" about governor morris in 1983. two -- "what would the founding fathers do?: our questions, their answers" in 2006. leadership" in 2008. "right time, right place: coming of age with william f. buckley, jr. and the conservative movement" in 2009 and finally his most recent on "james madison". you mentioned your alexander hamilton book, "alexander hamilton, american". if you would like to chat with mr. brookhiser about his body of work his numbers are on the screen, 737-0001. for those in the east and central time zone 0002. in the mountain and pacific time zones you can contact us electronically, e-mail who or contact us on our twitter account if you have a question for richard brookhiser. you talked-about your "alexander hamilton, american" book and you write about him.
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having risen from island poverty, never forgot economies are about the people who work in them. like revolutions they must compensate for what ever evils they produced by bringing to life talents averages which might otherwise have languished in obscurity. >> in any book, any biography you have to find the central frame or the thing about the character that you can understand and you can identify with. what struck me with hamilton was just that. here is a man born -- he grows up on st. croix. his parents are not married. his father takes off when he is 9 years old. his mother dies when he is 11.
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at age 11 he is an illegitimate orphan in st. croix but he is a bright kid working as a clerk in a merchant house. his boss sees how smart he is. his boss is from new york. the triangle trade. of iran rum and slaves. that is how bright this kid is. he and some other people they send to new york to get a educated think he is going to become a doctor and come back in practice. the american revolution happens instead that he is off and has the career he has. so he comes from farther back than any of the other founding fathers. most of them were sons of rich men, prosperous men. on adams, middling but successful farm family.
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benjamin franklin is on the poor side but they all had parents who are married and didn't abandon them or die. so this kid gets a few breaks and makes himself to and unimaginable extent. he doesn't pull up the drawbridge after him. his intent on creating a society where the next alexander hamilton won't have to face such high odds because of the diversity, won't be like st. croix where the only thing happening is sugar plantations, work by slaves and the trade that deals with it. that is all there is. if you don't fit in that world. there is nothing for you. so you wants a society which will have more going on, that
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there will be agriculture hopefully as little work by slaves as possible. there will be commerce. there will be merchants but there will be manufacturing and all sorts of different businesses because when more is available there's a greater chance you can find what you are suited for. so he is thinking of other people and other people like him. i found that very inspiring. >> of alexander hamilton were alive today who would he be supporting for president? >> guest: it is not such a crazy question because the party that he fought his still around. is not called the republican party. it is called the democratic party. changed its name in the late 20s early 1830s and is still with us. president obama's party was founded in 1791 by thomas jefferson and james madison so it has that continuity.
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alexander hamilton's party disappears after the war of 1812. parties do change their constituents a lot. the democratic party no longer relies on southern slave owners. they are a multi-cultural party. they are no longer very small government party. arabic governmethey're a big go. one thing that is as not change his resistance to the opulent. he wrote some essays in 1792 for a paper he helped to found called the national gazette and this was published in philadelphia, the nation's capital and the purpose was to smack alexander hamilton who was madison's federalist papers
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co-author, colleagues, some time friend but now doing things madison doesn't understand and doesn't like southern madison was fighting him. one of the themes of madison's newspaper essays is criticism of hamilton's crony friends. this is what madison thinks he is up to. enriching speculators and investors and he calls these people the opulent and he says ordinary people are superior to the opulent. he is pretty opulent. he is a virginia planter and so is jefferson but they're well came from land and from owning people so that was ok in their own mind but bankers wealth comes from buying shorts and all these mysterious operations that madison and jefferson don't understand and don't like. that wreck against the opulent
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is something you can see in a jefferson's and madison's party throughout its history as it continues into our lifetime. sp >> host: we have gone half an hour and we have not mentioned george washington. you have written three books about george washington. the founding father, "founding father: rediscovering george washington," "george washington on leadership" and rules of civility. y three book on george washington? >> he is the best. he is the most important and everybody knew it. everybody in his lifetime noon and they all said so. even when they became his opponents politically as madison and jefferson did they still had
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to acknowledge his service and what he had done and what he did, when he died henry lee famously said first in war, first in peace, first in the arms of his countrymen. he won the revolution. and he was the first president, got the new government up and running. the third thing he did was after those two things he went home. which is not universal among revolutionary leaders. washington intersects the early career of napoleon. napoleon is just starting. washington dies in 1799 so they overlap. their careers overlapped. when napoleon was on st. helena after it had all come to smash
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he was saying over his dinner table, expect me to become another washington kind of bitterly. washington chose to do what he did so he doesn't leave a shattered dynasty -- there's a great by another frenchman, diplomat and a poet, great enemy of napoleon and he spent some time and america and he said travel through the forest where washington's soared shown what he find, a world. he is riding with napoleon in mind and all his battles. great battles, great victories.
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a world. >> host: that from "founding father: rediscovering george washington" richard brookhiser writes fatherhood in any society understand it is a result of training and active will. a man who would be fodder in name as well as fact must go beyond what is merely national. of father is a man who follows through. this is why it was particularly appropriate that washington came to be known as the father of his country. he was the founder above all others who followed through. >> guest: the counterexample is hamilton's father. he sired him and even stuck around for nine years but then he didn't stick around. he ran off. washington didn't go off. he did his job, whatever it was. commander in chief for 8-1/2
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years. the revolution, the longest war and soviet non. longer than the civil war. longer than world war ii. the goes home. he is elected first president. he does that for eight more years. egos home. he was always on call to do the next thing. when he had an assignment he did it. >> host: you talk about his temper. >> guest: people are not perfect. they are people. they have flaws and limitations. one of washington's problem this was his temper. we forget it and you look at the quarter or the dollar bill or mount rushmore and that is not a
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temperamental image. but the reason we forget it is washington was so successful at controlling it. there are couple instances when he loses it at the battle of monmouth in 1778, he feels general charles we has bungled an assignment. was supposed to engage with the british and it goes badly and washington blames lee and choose him on the field of battle. there were some cabinet meetings which we know from thomas jefferson. thomas jefferson, jefferson -- jefferson liked a little bit of information and collected them from other people. he collected gossip and also wrote down things he observed.
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he called these the anas, a greek word. i forget what it means. this is where the two party system is already forming and washington is being attacked by the republican party newspaper the national gazette. the editor at the national gazette look for thomas jefferson in the state department as a clerk translator. this is just to give him an extra salary and access to government documents that jefferson is paying this guy who is editor of the newspaper and the newspapers attacking george washington and henry knox brings a copy of the latest issue to a cabinet meeting. a poll about washington being to the guillotine. washington sees this and says i saw it. i get a copy of this newspaper every morning. he sends me three copies of this
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newspaper. he expects me to be a distributor of his newspaper. i would rather gone back to mount vernon. i would rather be at home than the emperor of the world and jefferson writes this all down. it seems just like how you lose your temper. just how adams. something starts you off and i am going to go with this and he goes and he goes and sort of sitting there like listen to that. then he stops and they go back to what they are talking about and move on. the little demon came out for a moment and then uncorked it back up and unlike nixon he didn't think how could i screw that guy? he had his moment but then he was back to the job at hand. >> guest: let's take some calls.
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first up is santiago in miami. good afternoon. >> good afternoon. i would like to go back to a comment that the founding fathers were less traveled than high school student today. i would like to ask mr. brookhiser if he would instead give us a comparison of these gentlemen, the other people of their own here and given that the founding fathers had libraries when many of their fellow colonists were often illiterate and sums spoke several languagess. digital traveled to europe and quite well the. were they not the elite of their time? >> guest: they were more widely traveled than the average american. literacy was pretty high in america. one of the founders had a role in that. benjamin franklin helped to found circulating libraries. he founded the first one in
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philadelphia and this was something that got picked up in other cities. so that you didn't have to assemble your own library and go every book you read. you could go to the circulating library and borrow a book and take it out and franklin wrote that this had a great effect on the way people talk about things in philadelphia. the level of discussion was great. he also is one of a first newspaper publishers in this country and his assistants go out and found their own newspapers. he is a source of a media explosion in this country and by the time we get to the time of the revolution and the ratifying of the constitution america has more newspapers per-capita than any country in the world.
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we have more newspapers absolutely than france which is twenty-six million people. we are only three million but we have more papers per-capita than britain. so yes. the founding fathers were well-traveled relatively speaking. in terms of literacy america was a pretty literate country in the late eighteenth century. >> host: robinson e-mails to mr. brookhiser can you ask mr. brookhiser to elaborate on the relationship between george washington and alexander hamilton. >> guest: washington is older. he is born in 1732. there is a 25 year gap. there is something paternal about it. washington called his staff his
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family. his staff during the revolutionary war which i don't think was unique to him. it was a term of military use. anyway, the father of his country and here is the immigrant without a father. it is not the kind of ideal relationship washington has with lafayette. that was the perfect father/suns substitution. washington had no children. lafayette's father was killed in battle. of fatherless young man, when they meet a just bond and it is great. there are clouds and storms with hamilton. they have a fight during the revolutionary war.
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washington tells hamilton to come meet him. he wants to talk about something and hamilton says i will be right there and when he arrives washington says you kept me ten minutes waiting. you showed me disrespect and hamilton says if you feel so then i must resign and he just resigns right there and washington after half an hour sends somebody else to talk him out of that but also says if you think i fed you disrespect and i am out of here. it is a tribute to washington that hamilton starts talking him for of field commanders. washington gives it to him. he gives him a field commander for the battle of yorktown so hamilton is able to lead a light infantry charge and able to an end the revolution in combat.
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he began in combat as the artillery man. even though they had this fight washington was able to overlook that. . will be boys. he wants of field command. he will give it to him. who does washington turn to as his first treasury secretary. he backs him up. washington could have been his own secretary of state and secretary of war. he understood those things. he could not have been his own treasury secretary. very few people in america understood the modern world of finance that was appearing in the late eighteenth century. hamilton is one of the few, maybe five or six other guys. washington picks in to this job and when the partisanship begins, the attacks led by
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fellow virginians, washington sticks by his treasury secretary because he knows him and trust him and shares the same goals. he wants america to be prosperous. he has seen what happens when it isn't which is as commander-in-chief his men have no shoes. he has been right at the point of having a broken country. he doesn't want to go through that again. he doesn't understand how hamilton is going to fix it. all be ins and outs but he understands hamilton and he trusts him. >> host: you refer to george washington on your leadership -- your "george washington on leadership" book as a hub and we'll manager. >> he would take advice that wasn't all stab out.
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he didn't have what nixon had. people could come directly from many different angle depending what the situation was. he wanted to hear what they had to say. he wanted to hear what other people had to say about it. his cabinet, he would run all his decisions, that is -- advice from all cabinet members. remember that the cabinet is much smaller. there are only three secretaries. state the legal war and treasury and they're is an attorney general but that is a much lesser office. nothing like a justice department. when you have a three cabinet members rather than 22 that is easier to do but he runs everything major by all three of them.
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jefferson, hamilton, knox and other men as these guys's equipment go off so washington is an executive-branch -- >> mr. brookhiser writes a leader cannot afford to be intimidated by smart people and must not be controlled. he must avoid both problems by being confident in his own abilities and clear about his beliefs. joe in los angeles. good afternoon. you are on with dr. brookhiser. >> i want to know how brookhiser wrote about research and writing historical works. i am calling from the from capitol. i want to know if he ever liked any historical films or tv miniseries and if not why not?
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thank you. >> guest: let me answer it backwards. i did two documentary's for pbs which are like because i was the writer and a host. the first was called rediscovering george washington and that aired in 2002. and i was there writer and host on rediscovering alexander hamilton which aired last year. the director and producer of both of those was michael pack. an old friend of mine. trying to raise money for rediscovering thomas jefferson. anyone out there with a million bucks please call michael pack. historical movies that i have liked. let me think more about that. to your other question, you read the books that are out there and try to get guidance. you call on people who are expert on the period or the
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individual and stay where shall i begin my reading? give me some -- give me a map of what is out there. what are the most important new books? then you go and read those books and read all the footnotes of these books, one thing that has changed since i have begun this is the amount of stuff that is on line. the library of congress has websites for the papers of washington, jefferson, madison. you can go on line and read every letter they ever wrote and every letter ever written to them. these are the actual letters so you look at the actual handwriting. there is no footnotes. there is no explanation of what it is so you have to have that i understand it already yourself but you can read the actual stuff. also google works. there are a lot of nineteenth
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century out of print books. people's memoirs and biographies and what not. they are now on line as google books. save a lot of trips to the library. basically it means treating other people's stuff. if you like something, if you like some anecdote you have to look at the foot notes, chase it down. there might be more that this offer left out. that is basically history writing 1 zero 1. the best movies i think are movies that give you historical movies that give you a period and not necessarily about the maine historical figures in that period. one of my favorites is the leopard which is about the unification of italy. it is said during that time period and is about a sicilian aristocrat. aprons and how he navigates this and the choices he makes that he
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feels he is going to go along with the new order which is the prudent thing to do. a lot of his powers--powers are reactionary. he thinks he will ride the tide and powers are reactionary. he thinks he will ride the tide and the movie is also about you never can quite because we are more land we all die. is a brilliant movie. nobody famous is the net. it gives you a sense of dedication that would beat any documentary's. >> host: what about hbo miniseries on john adams. >> guest: have seen it. i own it but haven't seen it
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yet. 91 refer to governor moore's as a rate? >> guest: he slept with many people who were not his wife and were the wives of other men. seems like a good place to start. governor morris was one of the signers of the constitution and he is in fact the draftsman. he is on the committee of style which is -- assembled all the resolutions everyone has been working on and that is presented as the draft and it is his job to polish them. he cut it down from about 20 articles to seven by good a ranging and getting rid of repetition. he writes the preamble from scratch. the preamble is all his and it
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is just a beautiful -- you read that and read it for the alliteration. the rhymes. it is a beautiful job of writing. that is his big public achievement. he has a long life. he lives to 1816. a chunk of that he spends in europe. the goes to france as a businessman in nearly 1789 and stays in paris through the reign of terror. he is in riverside when the city state's first meeting. he is there to talk about a tobacco contract. he save people from the guillotine. he hide them in his house. he give people money who are
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suddenly refugees. aristocrats who have fallen on nothing. he is a generous, decent man. but he has this very active sex life and only has one leg because he lost one in a carriage accident in philadelphia and he writes about this in his diary. he wonders if a particular woman he is interested in what she would think of having a lover who left one of his legs in america. he is mindful of that as sexually attractive. he is a good-looking guy, and first show a picture to my wife and she said i would like to meet him. unfortunately he is dead so i wasn't worried. the other thing about him, i
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realize that he liked women. he liked listening to them. he liked smart women. clearly from his diary he likes talking to them. i told one friend of mine, this mail friend, don't want that out. we are all screwed if you love an anna. that is what he likes but he does get married in the end. nancy randolph, 25 years younger, and gets his fatal illness and realize this is it. he prepares a will and he leaves her and annuity of $2,600 which is pretty good and if he should marry again, she is 25 years younger, if he should marry again the annuity should be increased to $3,200 because she
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will have more expenses. whenever i tell that story to a woman at a cocktail party can i meet this guy? what a guy up! so he had something. y -- >> host: why is he one of the forgotten founding fathers? >> guest: he was too funny for his own good. he was too arrogant for his own good. he let it show. talking about the founding fathers being in a legal. his ancestors had been colonial governors. i can't think of another founder descended from colonial governors. with george washington had some ancestors who were burdensome
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but governors, that is a whole other thing so morris was just from around where -- he didn't care what people thought about him. put people knew that. they picked it up. that hobbled his career and bit his reputation. but the diaries that he kept when he went to france fascinating. they were like first novels. these novels about world war ii and the run up to world war ii and the intrigue and people getting bumped off and dying. it is like that in the late eighteenth century. you really have a sense of somebody in the world of paris and excited to be in this great city so things start happening. the deal falls and he sees decapitated heads being paraded through the streets of paris and then the next day he gets up and
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sees -- dinner with somebody -- then there is another decapitation. than these other things keep happening more and more frequently and you are being sucked into this world full of french revolutionary violence in which he maintains his voice. he is never frightened. he is never believed. he never does anything this honorable. . he never does anything this honorable. he saves people's lives. it is admirable how he stays through that. watching to make and our ambassador to france. then he leaves and he writes this letter to washington saying that i have been forced into
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contact with the grading people. he had to deal with these thieves and murderers. it is a powerful, powerful thing >> host: gentleman revolutionary: gouverneur morris, the rake who wrote the constitution" was published in 2003. robert in california. you are on booktv on c-span2. >> caller: good morning, mr. brookhiser. you are a great historian. much better than david mccullough. >> guest: comparisons are odious. i am a big fan of alexander hamilton. >> caller: that is my question. in one of the federalist papers he grows we don't have to worry about the supreme court because the decisions they would make and the way they were set up they would be a weak branch. then kmart reverses madison in 1803 and was a very bad decision
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when justice marshall used the judiciary act to say that he couldn't approve the appointment. what he really wanted to do was save his job. did madison never speak about it before he died and if not why not? >> guest: i don't know he wrote about marbury vs. madison. as you say in his lifetime, i don't remember a reference to it. marshall is a hamilton guy. marshall said this to justice story that he felt next to hamilton that he was like a
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candle beside the sun at noon day. marshall was not a humble man so that is quite a compliment that he paid hamilton. marshall's understanding of the law and the courts and how the judiciary works is very hamiltonian. hamilton is making arguments for judicial review before there is even a constitution. there is a case in new york called rutgers versus washington. it had to do with the suit over property. the tories had some property or rather a patriot had some property in the york city and the tories use it during the revolution and she was suing for background afterwards and hamilton defended the tories and asked the court to overrule a new york state law not on the
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grounds of the constitution because it didn't exist yet but on the grounds of the laws of nations and the common law. there were violations of the treaty of paris that this state law was committing. that is an argument for judicial review at an early point. marshall is a hamilton and. i think hamilton would have approved of his jurisprudence. >> host: richard brookhiser's most recent book "james madison" published last year. mr. brookhiser writes that madison's monument is american constitutionalism. doing and not doing and all the debate they have generated. his other monument, coequal if not greater is american politics. personal behavior that makes constitutionalism work. >> guest: that is my discovery if i can call it that. other people noticed this too
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but i really hammered on this point. we all know madison is the father of the constitution. that is the title that he got during his lifetime. i am saying he is also the father of politics. those two children are over 200 years old now. the constitution is a little older because of course that was written in the 1780s. .. younger. but madison is in at the beginning of that. he's at the development of national parties. he's in at the development of national media, and he's also very early in understanding public opinion in writing and thinking about it. he is one of the first people in the english language to use the phrase outlook opinion.
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it was invented in france 20 years earlier. he was one of the very first users of in england. he likes it. and you know, this was the origin, this network, it is the origin of all the yak in the boxes out there on television, all the origin for all the website, all the crazy people in the comment sections. it's the origin of all that, but that is public opinion. and madison is saying that this is a continuous 24/7 activity. somewhat like george washington, president washington, he believed in popular will, but he thought that happened at election time. the people vote and they take the people who run the president, senator, congressman, whatever. those men do their jobs and then the next election comes up. the people pass judgment. so for him it's like a kind of a
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rocking motion. it goes on all the time. the people half to be costly paying attention to what is going on, and making their opinions known, and politicians have to be constantly attending to what the people are thinking and saying. now, they also have to be manipulated with the people are thinking and saying, madison doesn't quite come out and say that. but also goes on. i am told that goes on. but that is the world that he foresees and helps will into being. >> host: mr. brookhiser also writes madison to do more than popular choice. he wanted people to be consulted between elections continually. they would be his partners for governor. joshua in long island you're on book tv on c-span2 with author and historian richard brookhis brookhiser. >> caller: are like to address a couple things about alexander hamilton. first, i heard that he learned to speak hebrew at a young age.
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can you talk about his background with the jewish community? and second of all can you elaborate a little on his anti-slavery links? >> guest: he did learn to say the 10 commandments in hebrew. he was born on the island of nevis, and davis had a jewish community. they had a school, and the family story was that his mother sent him to the hebrew school and that he was so short that when is asked to recite the 10 commandments, he had to stand on the table. so that's the story in the hamilton family. no reason to disbelieve it, there was a jewish community there. it's quite plausible. hamilton, you know, and he grows up and seeing slavery in the caribbeans. there's no place on earth that it is worth. the average lifespan of a field
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hand brought to the caribbean on the slave ship was seven years. they would just be worked to death, and the economics of it was cheaper than trying to keep them alive. because it would always be another slave ship. and they would come, the new ones. when hamilton, stu this country, he is one of the people who helped set up the new york mission society. this is in 1785. new york was a slave colony and a slave state. in the late 18th century the population of new york city is about one-fifth to one-sixth slaves. on me, it's not like, say, charleston but that's a pretty hefty slave population for northern city. there's a group of new yorkers who decide that new york state has to be weaned from slavery. they elect john j. as the head
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of the manumission society, the governor of the state, george clinton is one of them. isn't a bipartisan effort by the way. some of these people have quarreled over various political things. hamilton, clinton would be knocking heads for years. but they join together in this and. there's 32 of them. you should look up online. new york manumission society. the statement of the founding principles is rather out of, and ought to be better now. and so hamilton is a part of the issue. and it takes a long time. the slavery does not and in new york state until 1827. >> host: you are watching -- i'm sorry. go ahead and finished. >> guest: that was 42 years but the journey begins with one step. >> host: your washing book tv on c-span2. we have about two hours left in
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our program with author and historian richard brookhiser. very quickly, we want to show you again his books, beginning in 1986 "the outside story." this is about the election of ronald reagan. "the way of the wasp" which we haven't discussed yet came out in 1991. "founding father" of that george washington, 1996. "rules of civility." will get to that in just a second. 1997, alexander hamilton american was written in 1999. america's first dynasty about the adams family came out in '02. governor morris, "gentleman revolutionary," 2003. "what would the founding fathers do?" came out in 2006. george washington on leadership, 2008. and 11 came out in 2009 and we will get to that as well, and find his most recent, "james madison" came out last year. still on long island please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: thank you so much.
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i came across in various books that george washington was terrified of his mother. there was a letter from friends of his that said when they went to his house terrified them. she was a very powerful lady, and he was very hesitant to introduce martha washington to his mother. so i was curious if you knew anything else about that? thank you i think the hesitancy about introducing martha sounds like a broad array to me. certainly washington's mother was a very forceful woman. i mean, this is the testimony we have all points to the. there was a childhood friend of washington's who did say that washington's mother scared him 10 times more than his own mother did.
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so she must have had some force to her personality. and she lived a long time. she saw him elected president. the one comment that i love, i'm not 100% sure of the accuracy of this, but when told one of his victories in the revolution, she supposedly said george generally completes what he undertakes. so, so take that with a grain of salt. but it's an interesting old anecdote. >> host: was the executive office of the president designed for george washington? >> guest: oh, yes. one of the framers of the constitutional convention, a man named pierce butler, from south carolina, and he writes his brother as they are winding up, and he says entre nous, just between us, you know, we
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designed this, you know, with washington in mind, and maybe that was a mistake. because if he is succeeded by someone less virtuous, you know, there could be problems. but certainly there he was in the room. he was the presiding officer of the convention. in a sense everybody in that room is performing for him. they're also working for the own states and their own agendas and whatnot. but they are mindful that this man may well have, will have a future, if they make an executive. if they make a single executive, and of the proposed of april executive, you know, the executive might consist of a
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group of several people. but if they had a single executive, it would be this guy. and, indeed, when the electors vote, you know, they have no way of communicating rapidly. and some of them have opposed the constitution. these are the electors the state. for the first president and yet every single one of these guys votes for george washington. so he is unanimously elected. and that was partly because he has been commander in chief for eight and a half years during the revolution when there was no president, just congress. him and congress. so in effect the chief, the closest thing to a chief executive the country have had had already been washington. and have been after anf years. so there was this inevitability to him. he had the cheapest presidential campaign in history. all he had to do was not say he
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wouldn't serve. no advise, nothing. >> host: who is more influential in the construction of the constitution? james madison or governor morris? >> guest: james madison in the construction. wait a second. yes, james madison. i would have to think james madison because he gets the ball rolling. he creates the virginia plan, which is the first item on the agenda. it is greatly changed during the course of the discussions. the virginia plan has two houses of the legislature, and the lower house will elect the upper house, and both of those houses will pick the president. that's a very different system from what we have. but it's on the table.
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it's a relatively nationalistic government, and that ends up being the direction the constitution goes. governor morris speaks more than anyone else at the convention. madison is third to james wilson is second. and he gives some, he has this one denunciation of slavery, which is quite eloquent. but morris, i think his main effect was to push for a strong executive. and that does happen, and then, of course, he puts everything into words. but i think, you have to see that the constitution is not just done in philadelphia in 1787. there's also the process of ratification and the of course madison is much more important because he is written the federalist papers with hamblen, he's also leading the fight for ratification in his home state of virginia.
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and then when the first congress meets, he more than anyone else is responsible for the bill of rights. he sees that is something the opponents of the constitution most wanted, and so he is determined to give it to them. so over the long haul, you know, not just philadelphia in five months of 1787, but the whole shape of the thing, madison is by far the most important. >> host: next call for richard brookhiser comes from florida. john, you're on the air. >> caller: it is a pleasure. i feel like a kid in a candy store. i wish i was in the room so i could interview you. i was told i should limit my into one caution. before ask that, i always pronounce it governor morris. was a pronounced differently back in? >> abigail adams writes it out as governor. she spelled phonetically a law. that's how she writes it. it's interesting, morris knew a
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lot of frenchmen in the life and none of them think he is french, despite, a me, his first name is a french name. it is a family surname which was originally french, but, so from that i assume it wasn't given a french pronunciation and that they hit the last syllable. but, you know, we just don't know for sure. >> host: go ahead, john. >> caller: my question is, 10 years ago, an exhibit on the president. they had these cards would pull out, and governor morris his name kept appearing. i wish i could remember all of it, but it seems after i read about him is seemed like you want more of a king than a presidency. but i think he was instrumental in deciding that the term of the president would be four years, and also regarding we the people, it seems like he didn't have much faith in the people. he just thought the hierarchy should have more control over
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the government than the average person. maybe it's because the way they spoke today. if i may ask one, third question come with the founding fathers -- [inaudible] have the progress we much as far as mankind. but now a days it has progress progressed. >> guest: look, if they were bad, they would know that they would have to learn how to communicate. because that's the way the game is played. said they would have to learn the internet. they would have to learn television and it would make their business do. they just would do it. governor morris said a lot of caustic things about the people. when he's a young man, he compares them to reptiles, just shedding their skin and getting ready for the spring and he said we have to watch out. they may bide. but he is the person who puts we the people in the preamble. that, we the people of the
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united states of america. you know, some other preambles that of the delegates proposed, so whatever his thoughts, whatever his beliefs, he certainly put that down as a verbal marker. and, of course, lincoln will pick it up in the gettysburg address in 1863. >> host: where is around a core, new york? >> guest: it is a sub -- suburb of rochester near. just north of the city of rochester. >> host: why is it important in your life? >> guest: i was bored and i grew up there. and it figures and right time right place, which is a memoir of my relationship with bill barclay. >> host: you said it's three
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books in one. what did you mean by that? >> guest: well, it's a biography of bill, of a slice of his life, 40 years of his life. it's a history, a political history of america, for those years, and then it's my memoir of those 40 years, particularly my relationship with bill buckley. so there are three, three things going on simultaneously throughout the book. >> host: but at the same time it is more than just four years -- >> guest: 40. >> host: 40, i thought you said for. in 1969 you had your first cover story in the "national review," is that correct? was it 1969? >> guest: i wrote it in 1969, and then it was published february 24, 1970, the day after my 15th birthday. >> host: how did you as a 14,
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15 year old get a cover story in "national review" magazine? how much did you get paid? >> guest: i got paid $180. i will answer that first. i have an older brother. he is six years old. i was a freshman in high school. he was in college. and i would write him a letter every week, just about what i had been doing that week. and so in october of 1969, there was a moratorium about the vietnam war. this is mostly a thing in colleges where people would cut classes. they would be seminars about the war. it was a protest against the vietnam war. and some kids in my high school, decided to imitate this, their own version of it. so i thought that was a bad idea. and i wrote about this to my brother.
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you know, what happened on that day. then he will back, and he said i really enjoyed that little. that was a good letter. my father said come why don't you send that to "national review"? we have been subscribing to "national review" for about six months. none of us knew anything about journalism, didn't know any journalists, had no experience of it. so i read wrote the letter all of it and i send it off, and then i didn't hear and i just assumed well, you know, they didn't like it, they threw it away. and then i got a letter from chris simons was the assistant managing editor, and he said did mr. brookhiser, i just cleaned off my desk and i found this letter. that's how journalism works. he said i found your article, and i like it and buckley likes it, william f. buckley, jr. likes it we would to publish it. so i was thrilled.
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and then when it appeared, it was the cover story. they didn't tell me it was going to be the cover story. so that was the second thrill. and then the third thrill was what you ask of which was what i got paid. i didn't know that you got paid for these things. i sort of had a fear that maybe they will need money from me. i mean, it must cost a lot of money to print the magazine, you know? so i got a check for $180. and i thought, this is great. >> host: our next call comes from the city near irondequoit, new york, rochester. you are on with richard brookhiser. >> caller: i am right off the road. but anyway, yes, my question, sir, is i enjoyed your program, c-span, where you talked to gordon wood, and he was just a
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wonderful discussion between the two of you. i always want to ask him, and i'll ask you the same question, what founding fathers that don't have a monument in washington do you think deserve one? and if so, why and which ones are also like governor morris, not as well-known in need to be rendered? thank you. >> guest: well, here's a kind of, i was off the wall suggestion, but made a surprising suggestion. nathaniel greene, our best general during the revolution, i mean washington, i guess you have to say, is better because he had the strategic command of the whole thing. but green was just brilliant. greene saved a -- when the turn to the south in 1780, and really
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over ran the carolinas and georgia, and greene, greene want it all back. and even though he loses all his battles, i mean, it's just brilliant strategically. and that's the reason cornwallis ends up that -- at yorktown. greene has been out of the careless. just a brilliant performance. and then he died shortly after the war, sunstroke. he was given a plantation in georgia, and that was the end of him. but another one, if we're doing military people, is there a lofty of monuments were in washington? lafayette was -- >> host: lafayette circle. with a statue. >> guest: well, certainly he deserves it. he was a great young man. we got the best of him. he was 19 years old when he came
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over here. he did it out of a pure idealism. he thought the what america was trying to do was something worth while and the world he wanted to help. he was never any trouble, no ego, did what he was told, competent officer. but just the devotion and the selflessness, quite impressive. >> host: patty lockwood blais e-mails to you, regarding the 110 rules for civility, with his deep knowledge of george washington and his guiding principles, are there one or two rules that mr. brookhiser would recommend that we should bring back in order to improve current society? >> guest: one of my favorite rules, very early on, number seven or number 13, i forget which one it is now, kind of a long rule.
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and it's a rule of department, how to conduct yourself physically. and it says if you see filled or fix spill, put your foot dexterously upon a. in other words, cover it up if you should see this on the carpet or something. if it be upon your own clothes, brush it off. if it be upon the close of your companion, brush it off of his. then if someone brushes it off yours, return thanks to him that david. now, you see how interesting that rule gets as it goes along. it starts off, like someone blew his nose on the carpet, stick your foot over. but it's not just about that. if you see someone else has got like a mess on his clothes, help them off with it.
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but also do it privately. in other words, don't say oh, look at that stuff on your sleeve, let me help you. say come on over there, let me help you out. then if someone brushes it off your coat, return thanks to him. now, what are you going to feel like if you're in your best coat and there's like some big goober on your sleeve there and someone pointed out, you will feel embarrassed. but too bad, you think that person for helping you out. so what these rules, i mean, not all of them individually, that when you read them all, they are exercises in attention. they are saying you are surrounded by people all the time. there are people around you all the time, and you're not the only person in the room. at all those other people, they have their own, you know, things that are due them, respect that
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is due them, and you always have to be mindful of that. you know, they are like councils against selfishness. counselors against self-centeredness, that's what they are. >> host: where do they come from? >> guest: where do they come from? they were written by french just what's, and they got translated into english in the 1600s, and somehow or another, someone in virginia in the early 18th century had a copy. when washington was a kid he copied these outs but it seems like is partly pinioned ship exercise because his handwriting is very useful and takes great care over his capital letters. they are very sort of large and elaborate, carefully formed. but he also i think internalized
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these rules, and this is a great help to him. it's not just in terms of rising in the society of virginia, which he did. but, you know, and he probably meant -- he probably met more different kinds of people than any other american of his generation, except maybe franklin. he doesn't travel abroad. but he needs a lot of foreigners here. they're all coming here during the revolution, british officers, french officers, he's dealing with them. he has to deal as a national figure with the soldiers who are from other states and other regions and other subcultures. then he has to deal all with them again when he is president, when he is a politician. you know, it helped him enormously to have that youthful training how to navigate a world full of people.
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>> host: mr. brookhiser, in his comments about the "rules of civility," the 110 presets that guided our first president in war and peace, he writes small matters and large matters are alike. there are no great spirits who did not pay attention to both. these little courtesies reflect as in a pocket near the social and moral order. douglas in pennsylvania please go ahead with your question or comment for richard brookhiser. >> caller: hello, mr. brookhiser. my question is about your documentary you did on alexander hamilton. it had to queue with the dual the in the documentary your experts said the duel was fought basically on the low ground with a ferryboat land is. i was wondering if you could comment on the red sandstone rock that is part at the top of the hill, the high ground that kind of jets out to the middle of midtown manhattan. and its card and it says
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something like this is where alexander hamilton rested his head after his mortally wounded in the duel with aaron burr. and it is surrounded by a fence. but it has a brass -- i wish is when and why that was not included in the document and why your experts ought it was fought down at what it would've been the low ground when there was a known field where everyone that the problems in new york would come over to new jersey to fight their duels. >> guest: the rock was moved. the rock you're talking now, that was moved up from the site where the duels took place. now, where we walked through the duel was not where the duel was fought. the actual dueling was about 20 feet up from the hudson, maybe 12 feet up from the hudson. that got dynamite in the 19th century when they're putting a rail line on that side of the
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hudson. that is long gone. we went down on the fields just because it's close to the spot and we were able, we are able to do something there. and in iraq which is moved up on top of the cliff, it's interesting but it is even less related to the actual site and the fields where we were. >> host: douglas knows his history. >> guest: well, you know, you find you have to be on your toes because there are a lot of people out there who know their history. people care about this stuff. they care about it because it's important. and they care about it because it is interesting. i mean, it is fascinating stuff to see men as brilliant as bold, as quirky in a lot of ways, and playing for the very highest
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stakes, and they are revolutionaries. and even if they are not executed, they can fail. it could all fall apart or it could all go down the drain like the french revolution in a lot of ways. and so it's exciting stuff. >> host: you are watching "in depth" on book tv on c-span2. this month we're featuring author and historian richard brookhiser. we have about an hour and half left in a program today. we visited mr. brookhiser at his house in the east village of new york city. we want to show you a little bit of that. >> i take about a half year, maybe eight months, of only reading. and then he takes me about a year to write them. of course, i am reading as i am writing. and that's because i seem to
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have found a link that is about 60 to 80,000 words, so it is 200 plus pages. not more than 250 pages. and i think there's a place for such books. writing a biography is the most enjoyable thing about that is having a person as a guest. it's like the moving. each one is different. when i was writing about john adams and the adams family, they are difficult gas. dashed difficult gas. they are smart, they can be funny. they're certainly pediatric and arms. but they are crazy. they are just crazy. they are arrogant. they are judgmental. they go into rages. they go into depression. and when i was doing for generations of these people, and so when i was done with the adamses, i felt like my life got very quiet all of the sudden.
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the status want to finish was governor morris, because he was just great company. just loved having that man around. he was funny, even funnier than the adamses. he was a great writer. he was a genial, generous man. and excellent friend. you know, it occurred to me that if you had one phone call and you in like four tough situations and you had to call a founding father, the situations are you've just been thrown in jail, you're just come to the emergency room, you need $10,000, or someone has canceled a dinner and you need another guy, he's the one you would call in all the situations.
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he would come, he would spring you out of jail. he would come to the hospital and he would give you serious, thoughtful advice and sympathy. he would give you the $10,000. and he would be great at dinner. but just don't put him next to your wife.
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>> host: we are back live on book tv on c-span2 with richard brookhiser. mr. brookhiser, the producer visit you in your home in your
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city but she also sent any no saying what are you reading? what are your favorite blogs, et cetera. one of the books you're currently reading is abraham lincoln. what is that? >> guest: that is about they came out out in 1916. lowered was an english politician i think, and other. i don't remember his other name. but that only appears on the book. and my next book is going to be about lincoln and the founding fathers. the working title is founder's son. i think, well, the founding fathers are very important to lincoln throughout his career. he's always trying to show that he is fulfilling what they said. that his policies are in the track of mayors, not stephen douglas is or his rivals, the confederates, they're going off in the wrong direction. and lincoln scholars have written about this, but i think
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first founders writer to go from the founders to lincoln. so i did what i do with all my books, what the caller a while ago asked. i asked friends what should i read. people who are knowledgeable about lincoln. and the andy ferguson who wrote land of lincoln, which was a terrific book about how you think of lincoln today. i asked lou lehrman who lives in one of the, the lehrman institute and the collection. they said, one of the things they read, i don't know if you read lord charnwood. i never heard of this book. and sometimes, you know, english
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like to write about america and all of these which is completely wrong because they see it as a zoo. entertaining zoo. but sometimes the foreigner gets it rewrite. token was the famous example. but lord charnwood's understanding of lincoln's political situation and his political task struck me as just brilliant. unit, what lincoln was up against, what his opponents were saying, what he was saying, why he was saying it the way he said it. how he targets his life from the viewer speech in 1854, and just her and right up until his death, it's just a brilliant understanding. unit, englishman in 1916 but he just gets it. >> host: when did you develop and why did you develop an interest in the founding fathers
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to begin with? >> guest: well, i took a course when i was a freshman at yale. i took a course which was about jefferson, and he was getting ready to ride, or he had probably begun writing in defending america, which was his first book out about the founders, and he's written a number of others since then. this is the spring of 1974, and gary wilson was a great teacher, and he had a lot of interesting things to say about jefferson, who he really liked, found very interesting, kind of quirky. but he would also talk about george washington, and sometimes he would use washington almost as a stick to beat jefferson with a little gently, you know, here is the better man this or
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that situation. and he clearly loved washington. there was just a quality of admiration that came through. and that got my attention. then another thing at yale the, attention is yale owns the revolutionary paintings of john trumbull. john trumbull was a connecticut artist, and he served in the revolution. he was a colonel, became a colonel to andy did some diplomatic errands. he was kind of politically quite a man. he became one of america's first great painters, then at the end of his life he was no longer popular because it tastes had gone away from history of painting. then someone on the yale faculty from new haven, someone got wind of this, so yale a person as to if you leave all your paintings too as we will give you an annuity. we will support you through the
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rest of your life. so he accepted that he made conditions. and he said all my paintings have to be hung together. it has to be called the trumbull gallery. i have to be buried in my standing portrait of george washington after the battle of trent, because i consider that my most important painting. and if any of these conditions are violated, harvard gets to paintings. >> host: so he knew how to force -- >> guest: and, indeed, there is a yale gallery in the yarmulke art building, and he is buried beneath. i have seen where he is buried. it's like a couple floors down, almost like in a janitor's closet but he is down there. he is underneath that painting. that's kind of a warm-up. but if you see those paintings, all hung together, you have seen them in textbooks, you know, you have seen them a million times, but if you see them all hung
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together, it's like an iconic status as. it's like these things in the russian orthodox church's. here are the icons of the revolution, a little paintings, and then this big standing portrait of washington. and washington using four of the little paintings, and this big portrait. he is the center of the thing. it's all spinning around him. and i see this as a college kid and i think, now, that's interesting. this guy lived in. i mean, he was there. he was in the army. he was selling the stuff to other people who live within. they all seem to agree about this. that was the first time that i understood that washington's contemporaries had the same admiration for him that gary wills said, you know, almost 200 years later. and that, that was the hook. that was the hook.
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and then in, you know, mid 1990s, i'm trying to think -- unit, i'm not doing very well on it. my agent, michael carlisle, who are still the agent, he does a very useful thing. he says right in ideas. write-in ideas, we will pick an idea. so i wrote 10 ideas, and then my wife said at george washington. to the list your because she heard me talk about these, the class. that was number 11. then michael carlisle looked at the list and he said that's the one i can sell. and that's the one he did sell. and then having gotten the contract, i had to buckle down and learn something about george washington. there was a moment about two-thirds of the way through writing the book, reading, the
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reading part. i'm trying to understand, something about his presidency, i can't report was, it might be j street. you know, getting it all in order in my head and figure out what he was doing and why. and then i had this feeling, it was almost a physical feeling. it was like a chill. and the feeling was, once again, he has not let me down. once again, he has not let me down. and i realize that there was a consistency to the sky. you know, you had to work to understand it because he's not eloquence. he's not a great writer. he's not a great speaker. a lot of the things that impress people around him we have lost. i mean, we can't see him. we've never seen him. we've never seen him on horseback. we weren't there so we did, we
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don't have kind of an automatic understanding of the issues involved. but once you do figure him out, it's the same all the way down. it is the same all the way down. you know, i say this in talks, but the washington book was 63,000 words. if i had to write it in four words, they would be he relented. those are the forward. he really meant it. and he just time and again, he did the right thing. he did what he had to do. and that includes going home. he really meant it. >> host: and rediscovering george washington, "founding father" came out in 1996. even though your wife gave you the idea, you dedicated it to
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robert brook iser junior. who is that? >> guest: that is my brother. that is my brother and he is and he's the one i wrote the letter to. from irondequoit high school, and he is a lawyer here in washington. >> host: next call for our guest, mr. brookhiser, comes from ocean park, washington. janet, you've been very patient. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: i am really proud of you, mr. brookhiser, for your accomplishments. >> guest: well, thank you. >> host: janet, you've got to turn down the volume. you will hear everything through the telephone. otherwise you get that feedback. just go ahead and talk to us through the phone. >> caller: i am. >> host: all right, go ahead on that yes, mr. brookhiser, i had a couple of questions. why are we not still a republic,
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like our founding fathers wanted us to be? and number two, do you know where i can find the book, lbj in the -- lbj and made? >> guest: i don't know about lbj in me. >> host: have you heard of it? >> guest: no. i have read some of robert caro's books, life is short. i haven't read them all. they are terrific. spit and last longer or i think the third volume coming out in may. >> guest: i read piece in "the new yorker" which must be from it. >> host: on our q&a program as well. >> guest: but we are still a republic. we have changed. i might say that not all the changes are good, but we are still a republic. so if there are things that we don't like or that have gone off
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the rails, we still have the chance to fix them. it's our responsibility to. >> host: when people ask that question, what do they mean by a? where are they going with that? we are republic, not a democracy. if you do that, what do you think? >> guest: sometime it depends on when it is being asked. in the bush presidency it was often asked from the left, you know, and the foreign wars, you know, and interrogation of prisoners and so one. it comes from the right, from a conservative direction. government is swollen be on the size of any of the founders would have imagined, or tolerated. so what do we do about it? you know, my answer from both directions is what i said. you know, it is still a republic.
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like franklin said, a republic if you can keep it. so it's up to us to keep it. >> host: next call comes from san francisco, john, you're in booktv with richard brookhiser. >> caller: hello, mr. brookhiser. i am happy to be lucky enough to be watching c-span not too long ago, and the senate was going to do its annual ritual of reading george washington's farewell address. and i was quite moved by how it seemed washington was speaking from the grave, great wisdom to us, americans, at this time. and i was really impressed that he seemed to be very non-intervention list, and it was almost like a blueprint of ron paul's foreign policy. as far as having certain nations that we favor common in other nations that we demonize. and i was wondering if you could
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elaborate on what your take of what washington's views are reason interventions, and maybe also, was there a certain current of thought during washington's time that we should be more involved internationally, say, like the neoconservative point of view of today versus his you? thanks. >> guest: well, farewell address is delivered when the wars of the french revolution had begun. i mean, that's the stimulus for it. that's the context. you always have to remember that washington, he is first inaugural in april 1789 and the bastille falls in july, beginning the french revolution, and very soon france is at war with the other nations of europe. in these wars will go on until the battle of waterloo.
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they become the napoleonic wars when he rises to power. so a lot of america's early history is in the shadow of this 25 year long world war between france and the rest of europe, primarily britain. and washington's goal, and the goal of john adams and thomas jefferson and james madison, the first four presidents, is to stay out of it. we finally do get in it when madison is president. he asked congress to declare war on britain. that's the word of 1812. but up to that point, all of those men for all their disagreements and all the different ways they approached it, they're trying to keep the united states out of this superpower battle to the death. now, washington in the farewell address common he is addressing primarily the republican party of thomas jefferson and james madison, who are very
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pro-french. and they are pro-french because they are in love with the french revolution and there's also gratitude to france for having helped us during our revolution. their help was essential to us. so the argument was now france is at war. france is in its time of trial. they're having their own revolution, just like ours, surely we should look favorably on them. and washington is trying to say no, there should not be permanent friendships or permanent antipathies. and as i think, this would put him at odds with a lot of american foreign policy in the last 100 years. we speak with a special relationship with britain. washington would have put a question mark on the. he certainly would have. i think i disagree with him about it, because a special relationship with britain has
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worked out to the benefit of the world. but as a historian i have to say washington would not have liked it. one thing he does say, not necessarily in this address, but many times in his life, he calls the united states a rising empire. this rising empire. and that's and uprooting description. he expects the united states to become one of the great powers of the earth. we are not there yet. we are still a little country. but he wants it to grow, and he helped and thinks that it will grow. he believes it will grow to the west, as it does. and he expects it to become not just larger but also more considerable in the world. so he calls it the rising empire. so that's another aspect of his foreign policy. >> host: westport connecticut go ahead, tr.
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>> caller: thank you. and thank you for all i meet have this conversation. what a privilege. my question about george washington,. [inaudible] he seems to talk about a causal relationship -- [inaudible] and then the menace of the republic form of gum and is very tight in his logic. we know education doesn't do that anymore. but more specifically, it goes to the point that he really believed, as the book says, that he really believed what he was doing and that he really did it. the third thing i wanted to ask about, between yorktown in new york, between 1781 and his election to the presidency,
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george washington did an extraordinary thing about which most americans know nothing. he wrote a letter in the spring of 85 to thomas jefferson about this inclination to endow an academy. in the fall of that same year, he became a founding manager as they recall, of of alexander academy. and he was very active, we know from his letters he was very active as the head young master, young presbyterian. and i'm curious, also in 1794, while he was the president he was corresponding about the boys and girls that he was supporting through scholarships and what was going on at the academy. the minister of the old presbyterian meeting house, was a friend, looking back and said the academy is on the wane. and he said because the better
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families don't wish their children to associate with the lower class. it was real interesting. >> host: all right. very quickly can you wrap this up? credit is my point. washington -- [inaudible] it included blacks and women. i just wonder if the guest would comment on this. >> guest: if this, i know one of the academy's became washington and lee, became a college. i don't know if this was the same one. he left a couple of bequests in his will to educational, dinner, to schools. and he also as president, he corresponds with jefferson. the two of them have a scheme to bring the faculty of the university of geneva to the united states, to form a national university. geneva had been invaded by the
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french. the university of geneva was looking around for a place to align, and jefferson caught wind of this, and washington thought it was a great idea. nothing ever came of it. and washington did ask congress pretty consistently if they would set up a national university. they would do that and what we now call state of the union addresses. congress never did it. but that was a goal he had. >> host: three books of mr. brookhiser's 11 books are significant about george washington. rediscovering george washington, founding father, and george washington on leadership, and finally the 110 presets the guide our first president in war and peace, "rules of civility." florida, john, you are on with our guest.
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>> caller: good afternoon. washington seem to be dominating the conversation your site will keep that going. my question is from your book that you just showed us on tv and washington's leadership, and specifically the chapter on management style. and my question is, do you think washington as commander-in-chief was perhaps the first person to have that statue to actually listen to his council of war, and even take their advice? >> guest: you know, i'm not enough of a military historian to say that he was the first. he did take their advice, you know, early in the war he would submit decisions to a vote of his council, and that's a practice he eventually abandoned, maybe as he got more confidence, but he always listened to the opinions of all of his officers. u..
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>> contact us electronically, is our e-mail address, and at twitter, this e-mail from g.t. in new york city, loved this e-mail from j.t. in new york city. loved your pbs documentary on alexander hamilton. do true that madison and jefferson wrote the natural born citizen clause of the constitution in order to prevent
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hamilton who -- from becoming president? >> guest: no because the constitution says a natural born citizen or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the time of this document. hamilton could have slipped under the wire there. i never saw any evidence that he wanted to be president. never seen it. there's some talk from other people that he might do it but never from him. i think he preferred to be the prime minister rather than the number one guy. >> host: a comment from virginia. mr. brookhiser, don't know if you will receive this. moment ago someone phoned in and mentioned he liked your writing better than david mccullough. mr. mccullough wrote for the masses to the can't get involved in reading about our history and he did this so well. on the other hand you have written equally as well but for me i needed a dictionary beside
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me literally when i read alexander hamilton which i love. you made me work and that expanded my brain intellectually. i thank you for that. our next call from jane in st. croix, virgin islands. >> caller: good afternoon. i met mr. brookhiser a couple of times when he was here researching for part of the alexander hamilton life. i met him in christian when he gave a speech and that the plantation and i am wondering if he found it easy to get some information here on that period of time because we're very proud of alexander hamilton here. thank you. >> guest: what i love about st. croix is how much is still there. st. croix was the danish colony
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when hamilton lived there. those gains built to last. the old buildings and the old shop buildings and christian stead. they have for calls. even though st. croix has its share of hurricanes and being hammered pretty badly by some of them those buildings have lasted so you can -- you can walk the sidewalks that hamilton walked when he was the 12-year-old clerk and running errands or documents around downtown christians said -- christianstead. they have the foundation of his in-laws which was called the grange. recently became a national park or a national property. this is a house not that he lived in but that he had in lot living in.
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it is a lovely 18th-century caribbean plantation house. even though hamilton's own origins were very problematic he had a window into a grander lifestyle and a little bit of a case of its even when he was in st. croix and that is still fair so they are both well worth seeing. >> host: in los angeles, please go in with your question. >> caller: -- >> guest: >> host: you have got to turn down that volume. just listen to us through the telephone and go ahead and talk to us. we got to move on. she has been on hold and can't quite get that. where our founders lost? >> guest: yes.
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albert was wes. lost? that was a word that appeared in the 50s and often credited -- a sociologists. it is an acronym that means white anglo-saxon protestant. it also means -- it also implies a host of other traits and characteristics and often these are unflattering. i thought it could be more flattering than that so that is why i wrote my second book. away -- >> guest: >> host: "the way of the wasp" is the name of that book. nothing is good that wasp believes. it must be good for something. a good use for something is the fulfillment of its proper task.
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>> guest: you know, wasp, you don't go to a wasp party for the food necessarily. i remember one cocktail party when i was writing this book, this was all in my mind i was thinking, it was an evening server party. and the order for --hors d'oe e d'oevres were horrible but the bar was great. that is a joke. it is a kind of humorous thing on the subject of new yorker cartoons. i heard jack mason once said what do white anglo-saxon protestants tell their refrigerators? there's never any food. all right.
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but the point behind it is that there is always an internal monitor and internal sensor asking you what are you doing and what are you doing this for and what good has this accomplished? it is a superego the psychoanalyst would call it. a superego. very powerful superego. it exists in this group for historical release -- reasons. a lot are just political. a lot of the guys we have been talking about, these founders all felt to more or less great degree. therefore it put its imprint on this country and even though littoral loss, wasps are a minority now but others to come here become wasp and take on the characteristics of the country
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day in a great to. oscar hamlin just died. she was a great scholar and historian and the american experience is the immigrant experience. that is totally wrong. that is totally wrong. argentina has as many immigrants as america has and some in the same parts of the world. lot of jews from eastern europe but argentina is not like the united states. not at all in a lot of ways. they have different patterns to which all of those people assimilated. any way that was my contentious point in that point. >> host: "the way of the wasp," anti sensuality, where did that
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come from? >> guest: i was trying to draw a template of this personality type. i made a mistake. i called this a mantra in the book. the only reviewer who did not. that is an error. that is something you say. i had a pattern. i arranged them in a little hexagon. it should have been iman dollar because those are visual things that buddhist artists draw. the only reviewer who picked up was a fringe right-wing magazine who reviewed that book and paid notice to that. i was just trying to get a template for this personality type and some of it was a little jokey about was a serious attempt to try to define a character type. >> what you think of the term historian--conservative historian and are you one?
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>> guest: i am a conservative. conservative historian? in a way all historians are conservative because they're looking at the past. even the radical ones, howard zinn, he is looking back to the record of it. he is looking -- learning from it. a lot of mistakes. he is saying these are a lot of mistakes that i am pointing out. the very act of looking back has something conservative about it. i am also revolutionary historian because this is a revolutionary country. these guys were all revolutionaries. they're not that far away, they are not that remote. here's how i figured out -- here is my connection to the american
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revolution. when i was in college i heard outer hiss pataki, the communist spy. and he was a young man he clerked for justice oliver wendell holmes. when holes was a young captain in the army he told president lincoln debt down, you damn fool when lincoln was looking over a pair of civil war battlefields. when lincoln was a congressman, one of his fellow congressman was representative john quincy adams, former president. when john quincy adams was a little boy he heard the battle of bunker hill. so from there to the battle of bunker hill is how many degrees of separation like four.
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not that far to charlemagne. ancient civilizations like that. we are a relatively new country and yet the institutions have been rather stable. the president and courts go back to 1789 and the army goes back to 1775 and 1774. france, spain or germany, these older countries we don't burn through our institutions at the same rate that they do. it is a revolutionary path we are still close to. >> you are on booktv with richard brookhiser. >> caller: thank you. in general i take issue with
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those who evaluate historical figures from the perspective of today's standards and culture. in particular i am concerned about our founding fathers reputation being deteriorated because of their association with the institution of slavery and how that institution is looked upon today and concerned in the future there will be a continual deterioration. does that concern you? >> they looked on slavery and favorably themselves. they were the ones who put all men are created equal in the declaration of independence. the man who wrote those words was a slave holder. jefferson never in his long life ever said slavery was right or good. he always worried about it. it was always a problem to him. i think he didn't do as much of
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the personal nearly as much as he could have. he did much less than alexander hamilton and john jay and george clinton who founded the mission society. they too lives in a slave state and because of their effort to stop being a slave state. long after they started the process. jefferson to his credit he starts the process in the sense that he is the author of those words. it was really a later discovery of americans, of some americans that slavery was a good thing. there was a conversation that this ought to be better now. there is what conversation 1820 between john quincy adams and john calhoun. in john quincy adams's diary. calhoun is secretary of war.
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adams is secretary of state. calhoun is quite a young man. adams is middle-aged and they are both working for president james monroe. missouri has applied to join the union as a state. and missouri is part of the louisiana territory. it was not part of the united states by the treaty of paris in the revolutionary war. it is new land and relatively unsettles. it is not like new orleans which was an older city where slavery was established a. here is missouri applying to be a state. libya slave states or free state and this sets off a huge fight. two yearlong fight in congress over this issue.
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already we can see sections beginning to split apart. henry clay manages to compromise. while this fight is going on the personal animus and calhoun are in monroe's cabinet and there's a discussion at the cabinet meeting. calhoun and adams go off and keep talking about it. what is interesting about this is calvin is one of the few men john quincy adams of respected. one of the few men not named adams to the ever respected. he thinks calvin is as smart as he is. he doesn't think that very often. said there talking and adams had been making an argument that slavery is guaranteed by the constitution in the states where exists but because of the preamble to the constitution to guarantee the blessings of
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liberty therefore it would be wrong to let a brand new state and new territory become a slave state and then calhoun says though they're very noble principles but where i come from, south carolina they are understood to apply only to white men. then he goes on to explain that slavery is the foundation of the quality because if waves do all the work, auld free white men can be on a position of equality even though some are extremely wealthy and others are humble farmers. but they will all have a certain equality. he says slavery is equality. it is like 1984. slavery is equality. and adams writes this down and you can tell he is shocked
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because this is calvin saying this. this is his friend. this is the man he respects and he writes this down in his diary and he says words to this effect, he says this is it. this will break up the country right here. this is 1820. thirty-one years before it happened. but already and it is because of the belief that slavery is not like a bad thing that we don't know what to do about that hope will go away. slavery is a good thing. if enough americans believe slavery is a good thing, then it has to end in blood. as it does. >> guest: >> host: virginia, tel as a funny story about william f. buckley jr. and his sister priscilla. who just recently passed. >> guest: yes she did.
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90 years old. it was great to work with them. it was great to watch them. bill is the founder and editor of national review and priscilla is the managing editor very early on. she states that until 1985 so there was a team running when i came in and when you run the editorial conference we all sat at this long rectangular table and the bill is that the head and we go around the table proposing topics to write editorials about and bill would take notes. bill had a lot of handwriting. just lovely handwriting. he loved red and this. he rain this stuff down red and then when he made the assignments which you do right thereafter we have all finished you go down his list and say
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jeff hart, will you write about this? jim, right about that and what is that? that is the nickname for priscilla. she was one of the few who could do it. another one who could do it was win the bridgees who wlinda bri the magazine. another thing. priscilla never told filled this, there was a stage in the production process called the blues. i don't know if it ever happens anymore. this is gutenberg technology. the very last stage before the actual magazines that run off. you see these pages that were. and she told bill that you can't
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change it. you actually can change it. it costs a lot of money to change it but you could. she told them that. she didn't want him making last-minute -- he wasn't a perfectionist all the time. he was a very busy man and he trusted priscilla and the people who worked for him. mostly he would finish and go off to do his next hundred things but there might be some particular issue that caught his attention or a story that was ongoing and he might have done that. she didn't want that happening. she deceived him. >> host: we have an e-mail hear. saying -- here it is. from thmatthew fully.
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i am looking forward to reading "right time, right place: coming of age with william f. buckley, jr. and the conservative movement" and would welcome your comments on your relationship with buckley in connection to why you wanted to write the book. did you enjoy writing it? my mother's family is from rochester and we would enjoy your fox going up there. why don't we start with why did you want to write the book and what was your relationship with william f. buckley jr.? >> guest: bill was a huge part of my life for 40 years. a lot of my books have been about fatherhood. symbolic political ways founding fathers. that is who they are. washington is the founding father. when i wrote about how he would have these relations with hamilton and lafayette and these
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young people, governor morris was another one of his surrogate son this i wrote about the adamses and these generations of fathers and sons, difficult, loving father is the difficult. that has been an important theme so here is mine. my professional father. he picked up on my riding and a point i was fifteen years old. and he reached out, send this thing in and said this is good. and i am going to publish it. bill was very generous and he was also very interested in
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other people's talent. one of the things that gave him the most pleasure was to find someone else. not just younger people but older or younger or what ever to find someone else and features that person to present that person to be like the discoverer or impresario. i thought of him as a. they -- day. j.. someone who loved to collect things. he loved publishing these people. putting them out there and showcasing. he took pleasure in their success. was something very generous about him. it is a way of expressing himself. he got gratification from it. he said here i am growing up in new york and writing all this stuff and then this guy from outside who is a real person, a
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tv star, he has made it and he is good. he knows what good writing is and he says this is good. you are good. i am going -- i want you. he wanted me to work for him. he wanted me as part of his collection. that is how his cabinet of collectibles. that was very thrilling. it was very seductive. because then he said a few years after i go to work their, by the way when i step down, want you to succeed me. i was in my mid 20s, early 20s. that was fantastic. what was he thinking?
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that is part of him. he thought he had found another him. he hadn't. he found me. i wasn't him. i am like him in some ways but unlike in other ways which he discovered too. he says you are not going to succeed me. terrible. you go up and you go down. this was a complicated relationship and different phases but it was a big part of my life that gave me my platform. it gave me my start. it opened doors. if you work for bill buckley at national review, that meant you could go to any publication, even liberal ones, they would know you were good. you were a certain level. you had to prove yourself. you had to have an idea and they would have to actually like it.
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it is the jeweler's market. this is a great thing to have had. he broke into this media world where most people did not agree with him and yet he made them acknowledge his talents. he also made them take a look at all these people he was a showcase to. not just to me. david brooks worked for him. as far as you go, michael lynn, not all of them stayed conservative. he was opening the door to all these people.
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roller coaster ride. to both of us, we were able to keep the relationship going even after some of these. you are not going to work. there were more ups and downs. we were able to keep the friendship up. that is a story on wanted tell and i had thought about it over the years. am i going to write about this? how can i write about this? i decided i can't write about it while he is living. then he died suddenly. wasn't shock because he was in his 80s and his health wasn't great but it wasn't a lingering
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thi thing. we discovering alexander hamilton and his wife said bill buckley died. what? it is like for me and many people in that world would be like the president has died or the pope has died. it was more because i knew him. i don't know if it was that they but certainly that week i called michael carlisle and said i have got to do this. he said ok, fine. write the proposal. write the letter. so that book was off. >> host: what did you think of christopher buckley's losing moment book? >> it was a book he had to
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write. painful. painful. wasn't painful for him to write it. it is painful to read. he was the actual sun. i was at several removed. in the furnace of it, they were difficult. they were glorious and gorgeous but they had their bark. >> host: you have an association with "national review"? >> guest: i am a senior editor. it is city desk for country life and when writing about new york city, country life is about we have a house in the catskills which is two hours from new york where we go almost every weekend
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and so those are the jumping off -- those physical points of the focuses of the columns but they are slices >> host: "right time, right place: coming of age with william f. buckley, jr. and the conservative movement" is mr. brookhiser's 2009 book. we have about a half-hour left. maine, you have been patient. you are on with richard brookhiser. >> caller: good afternoon. washington and lincoln had different temperaments. i am curious. washington was taken in by benedict arnold. i wonder after washington became president and had the pardon if he had been approached by benedict arnold if he might have
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-- to benedict arnold? >> guest: i don't think he would have pardon him. that was a great blow but he tried. he tried to capture him. very interesting. he had an operation. approach henry lee. it was british headquarters. wanted him captured and brought to justice so they arranged to have a sergeant in -- a cavalry sergeant pretend to defect. into new york city washington had spies in the city already.
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this man was to get in touch with them and they capture arnold and stepped on a boat across the hudson and he would be tried and almost certainly hang the. it came close to working. interesting how close it came to working. i thought about that when osama bin laden was finally shot. we had another similar pursue of an equally villainess figure. >> host: david, you are on booktv on c-span2. >> caller: i live in mannheim, pennsylvania which is lancaster county about 60 miles west of philadelphia. the historian gentleman that founded mannheim was henry stiegel. he did lot of class and
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ironworks for the revolutionary war. when the philadelphia was occupied by the british a lot of founders moved to the countryside and mannheim was one of the places they moved. there is a building in the center of town that had claimed governor morris lived there in 1778. there was a plaque on the building some years ago but they have taken it down. the building still stands. >> guest: governor -- robert morris had a house in mannheim. there were business partners. they worked together. there was a double portrait of
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them. i forget who did the portrait. they were not related. >> host: this e-mail, as a surgeon and i was intrigued by an article in a surgical journal giving the impression that the older and more established physicians have listened to their younger colleague washington might have survived his last illness by undergoing a tracheostomy, a radical operation at that time. >> guest: i heard about that. radical operation on the father of this country. think how nervous he would be. there were no antibiotics so the infection he had was incurable. but he was bled which is a
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medical practice in those days. pretty harrowing. one signer of the declaration was benjamin rush who was a doctor in philadelphia and a great patriot but he believed in this bleeding pherae. he was talked in at number which is a source of that and philadelphia got a yellow fever in 1793 which was horrible. 5,000 people died. everybody who could took off. the old government just fled. he was leading his patients. the human body had twice as much blood blood as it did. so he was taking blood out of people and killing people because he is weakening demand debilitating them. alexander hamilton stated philadelphia to work. he is a type a personality. the got yellow fever. it reads stevens slightly older.
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stevens didn't know how to cure yellow fever. hamilton road it out and live the. >> host: comments on how seriously mr. washington took his involvement with freemasonry. >> guest: that is the second most common question asked about washington. did he head to mount vernon? surprised -- he took it pretty seriously. when he laid the cornerstone, the capital as president it was a masonic ceremonies and he wore his masonic paper. washington was a very dramatic man. he loves plays in the theater.
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he would go to any performance if there was anything being done. shakespeare, some farce, puppet shows. he would go to see it. he loved the theater and was very theatrical. this was a man he designed his own uniforms all his life. he knew his physical presentation was part of his leadership. masonry has rituals. it was part of it. masonry puts on a show. this was a time when christian worship is very simple. washington is an angry episcopalian. this is for the anglo catholic revival so anglicanism is relatively bareboned saying. that was part of the attraction for a while. >> host: new jersey, you are on
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booktv. brian lamb doing a lot. semi retirement. >> we all appreciate what brian was able to do. in a very still freeway. very concerned way that he did that. i have a question about washington. man of his time. mr brookhiser, quick question. in your research with washington, did you come across a special relationship washington had with billy lee, his manservant? and whether or not that research
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-- in the footnotes any discussion regarding venus, a slave washington's brother-in-law who supposedly sired a child with washington and whether or not washington either new directly or indirectly about the nice lady because it is a danger that if you were a slave for six months you were automatically set free. >> guest: as washington, moves very soon. that is true. there were local laws that a slave state passed a certain time they would be automatically free. washingtons and his slave sir mount vernon before these times came up. except at the end of his
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administration when the last group of slaves who were attending him in philadelphia were left there and were freed by simply being left there. he didn't make any fuss over this but jamestown's flexner figured that out by studying the record. washington's child? don't believe it. we know where washington was for every day of his life. for this to have happened there is a day and a half gap where technically he could have ridden over to that plantation like monty python, the course comes in where is venus? he has got to do his business and go off. did not happen. william lee. this is interesting. william lee is the second person
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mentioned in washington's will after martha, his wife. this is in the paragraph where washington state's that all his slaves shall be freed at the death of his wife. visa the slaves he himself owns. half the slaves at mount vernon were the property of the state. that was martha's first husband and they could not be free. they belong to her children by her first husband but the other half, washington's those flames were to be freed. he is very insistent about this. he says they should not be sold out of the state or taken out of the state. any pretext because he knows people do that to try to avoid -- and he specifically mentions william lee, my manservant calling himself william lee and not only frees him but give him
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an annuity of $20 and says this is for his service to me during the revolution. so he is naming him and also identifying him as a veteran, if you will. but a companion of his during the revolution. didn't have to put it that way because he served him before and after. he could have found other ways to say it but specifically links him to the revolution and this is part of washington's final act to free all his slaves. it was taken as an anti slavery statement in its day and i think rightly so. it was. it was a public statements of his opinion of slavery. >> host: you write i think in rediscovering george washington that martha washington feared for her life after george washington wrote that.
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>> host: >> guest: word gets out. it was published. in papers. so the slaves know that when she dies they will be freed. it only takes one person to kill you. these are the inevitable stresses of such a system even when it is being run as well as it can be run. when it is being run with a certain amount of charity and concern or what not. but still it is bondage and people want to get away so she is afraid and so she freeze all the slaves before she dies. there's a poignant letter. abigail adams visits mount vernon. just how the estate has fallen apart and she is very anxious
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and it is sad. >> host: did you like a musical 1776? >> guest: yes i did. >> host: ironically it seems that president washington and richard brookhiser are nearly identical physically, height and weight. is that true observation? >> guest: we are about the same height. he was -- yes. at his death he was measured at 6 foot 3-1/2. i can't ride a horse. >> host: please ask mr. brookhiser about his separation of church and state issue currently in political contention and assuming he is catholic like the buckleys his opinion of the church in u.s.
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politics? >> guest: not a catholic. the separation of church and state was something the founders were proud of. they thought this was a world historical event, that they had stated this and provided for this. one of the importance guys is james madison. when he is 25 years old he is elected to the virginia legislature. this is on the eve of independence and win independence is declared virginia has to write a constitution and they write a bill of rights called the declaration of rights. george mason is the main author of that but madison is on the committee and he changes the language of religious freedom from full toleration to free exercise. a very important change because toleration, someone tolerates you. it is like a gift from somebody
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to somebody else. free exercise is about right. these are not gifts. these are rights that people have. that is a big change. that is something all the founders endorse. when they're in philadelphia in 1787. writing the constitution, they all go to the catholic church and independence hall for masse. very few of these guys are catholics. there's a guy from pennsylvania who is a catholic but george mason, first time he has ever done this in the catholic church and he writes a letter, a ringing of a bell like a puppet show. he has never been to a mass before but they all go and they are saying these people are as good americans as all the protestants. washington writes a letter to the hebrew congregations.
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a famous letter that this government gives to bigotry no sanction. does that mean religion should be separate from politics? here's where we get very interesting split that goes throughout all later american politics. washington's farewell address he has a paragraph on religion. one of the earlier callers referenced, related to education. washington says religion is a killer and a proper of good government. and example he gives is oats in court. people feel no religious to the oath they swear in court what good is our legal system? there are many other examples. jefferson in 1802 becomes president and gets a letter from baptists in connecticut, congratulating him. he writes back and quote the
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first amendment and says which thereby established a wall of separation between church and state. so washington is talking about colors and props. jefferson is saying wall of separation. it is not just that there's free exercise. there has to be a wall of separation. those are two different ways to play it. people have been -- it came up when rick santorum criticized jfk's speech to the baptist minister is in houston. jfk said absolute separation. rick santorum says that is wrong. makes me want to throw up. he said that is wrong. this goes back to washington and jefferson about the role of religion in politics. should it be kept out of politics as well as out of our church and state relationship.
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very >> host: in "right time, right place: coming of age with william f. buckley, jr. and the conservative movement" you read about your parents's mixed marriage religiously, your own views on religion and catholicism in the national review. >> guest: "national review" was a catholic place to work. it was like the vatican newspaper in rome. i told a story, we used to have editorial drinks when we finished a section and one day david brooks was working the magazine at that point and joe so burn -- soburn brought drinks to two priests. david is jewish and he says i have dealt with so many catholics since lunch. it was a very catholic place to work.
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the first religion editor at "national review" was will herbert who was jewish and and john sullivan took over the magazine, became editor of the magazine, he put billy graham on a cover about protestantism and latin america and how is growing and this is a good thing. i guess it was catholic in the literal sense of being inclusive. >> host: your own views on religion? >> guest: you of age with william f. buckley, jr. and the conservative movement". >> guest: we will take this call from california. >> caller: good afternoon, mr. brookhiser. if you had your option would you -- which of the founding fathers would you have inserted among the first presidents and in which place of which president would you put him and why? >> guest: interesting to see
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what kind of president john j. might have made. we might have had a less tempestuous ride than we had under john adams. >> host: spencer, go ahead. >> caller: i am 20 miles from where the battle of monmouth was fought. i have a couple questions about religion and it might be a lie eve. i don't know much about the founders but primarily about george washington. i heard that he would go to church with his wife just to basically a piece her but he would leave the building when they served communion. he was actually diaz and found the idea of communion and a lot of christian belief offensive.
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>> guest: he never took communion. that is true. we don't know what his opinions were because he could come very close to his vest. not like jefferson who writes a lot about his religious views in private letters. washington never does. as i say he never took communion. he belonged to episcopal churches. there was no clergyman at his deathbed. it is hard to say. he does have that paragraph in the farewell address. he is pretty close slipped about it. >> host: have you ever talk? >> guest: no. you mean in school? no. >> host: at? >> guest: no one asked me.
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that is not true, i did two weeks in hillsdale journal on journalism. >> host: would you do it again? >> guest: for two weeks yes. >> host: would mr. brookhiser discussed the underside of early america as represented by aaron burr? why did and how did he become so strong in new york which was naturally a federalist hamiltonian place? david levine from florida. >> guest: he was very interested in the game of politics. he was good at it. my insight to aaron burr. there's a book by one of hamilton's grandchildren called the intimate life of alexander hamilton. it was written in 1900. and in it, the author interviewed a very bold man who had known aaron burr when he was
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young. so aaron burr died in 1836-37. that is how it is possible for this to happen. and so the grandson said everybody said aaron burr was charming. what does that mean? why did they say that? this man said it was the way he listened to you. aaron burr had a way of listening to you that persuaded you that what you were saying was more important to him than anything. that was like a flare went off. i thought i understand this guy. there's a certain kind of narcissistic personality. we think of narcissists as being full of themselves but there's a certain kind of personality that goes through life by attaching themselves to others by making
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momentary impressions on others and that is what he did. this is the only way i can interpret his conspiracy believers and he was tried for treason and acquitted. jefferson was president. this was when he was going on to the west. what is he trying to do? take the west out of the united states? trying to invade texas? no one knows. no one has figured out. no historian has figured out what he was up to. i decided he hadn't figured out what he was up to. aaron burr didn't know what he was doing. he was collecting malcontents. anyone who had great or complained or something and aaron burr would listen. he is the guy. he is going to make it happen. he is collecting this odd assortment of unhappy people. he didn't know what he was doing. what is going to turn up? what turns up is he is tried for
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treason. thanks to justice marshall he gets acquitted. >> host: last call for richard brookhiser from california. have about a minute left. >> it is great fun listening to the show. my question, when talking about william f. buckley reminded me of the many times he and gore vidal had fun discussions together. >> host: not so fun. >> caller: that was the fun part about it. how would gore vidal's take on his historical novels compare to yours? that is about it. >> guest: i read burke when we were doing the hamilton documents and interviewed gore vidal. the novel parts of it don't work at all. but the historical parts of that are interesting. he certainly did his homework.
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one interesting thing, he thought that washington was directing hamilton in his economic policy. that is the only place i ever read that. a kind of interesting take. >> host: mr. brookhiser, what is your best selling book? >> guest: "founding father: rediscovering george washington" still sells. the first george washington book. i think "alexander hamilton, american" is selling at the same rate. it came out at the same time selling hasn't sold as many copies yet and james madison got off to a good start as those did. those three. >> host: what is it about alexander hamilton? we have a lot of calls and e-mails. >> guest: what a life! he comes from nowhere and goes up and he is killed in a duel. >> host: richard brookhiser.
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here his books. "the outside story: how democrats and republican re-elected reagan" in 1986 about the election of ronald reagan. "the way of the "founding father: rediscovering george washington" 1996, "rules of civility: the 110 precepts that guided our first president in war and peace," "alexander hamilton, american" in 1999, "america's first dynasty: the adamses, 1735-1918" in 2002. gouverneur morris, the rake who wrote the constitution" in 2003. "what would the founding fathers do?: our questions, their answers" in 2006. "george washington on leadership" in 2008. "right time, right place: coming of age with william f. buckley, jr. and the conservative movement" about william f. buckley and richard brookhiser's life in 2009 and "james madison" came out in 2011. his next book is about abraham lincoln and the founding fathers. this has been in death. richard brookhiser, thank you for the last three hours. >> serving in iraq from 2003 to 2009 u.s. navy seals sniper chris kyle accumulated more officially confirmed kills than any other sniper in military history?
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