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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 26, 2013 11:00pm-1:01am EDT

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do your second question, the french canadian, one of the things that jefferson and madison was that the -- because the french hated the british so much. they assumed they attacked quebec the drench there would rally to their side. that didn't happen. it turns out when you invade someone's country, they don't like it. ..
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[applause] to i would say half of the rating and a big chunk of the research i did while i had a fellowship for jefferson studies. i want to think andrew for that and my good friend for many acts of friendship does the thomas jefferson
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memorial foundation chair at the university of virginia. i want to think mary scott fleming for keeping the trains running on time for this presentation and to christopher oliver assistance to a range of this. and managing the fellowship that i so have profitably and so spent here. also might sister and her brother traveling here for connecticut also alan taylor one of the leaders of the of escape from the virginia plantation during the war of 1812. since it is monticello let's
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begin with thomas jefferson and this is a'' that comes from a letter that he wrote in response to his former secretary. he wrote this letter august august 251814 which is a low point in the united states will recall the war of 1,812th. if you know, of the occupation and the partial burning of washington recognized august 25 what is right after the british occupied washington while they you were building one dash burning buildings. jefferson did not know yet but he knew it was going badly for the united states. >> to take a more public
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role jefferson's reply was discouraging because he decided that his day had passed and that it had not yet arrived in virginia for a serious effort. but then a very interesting passage. that emancipation is inevitable. and it lays out to possibilities of how it could be achieved. one is that virginians would have the generous energy of our own mind to set aside self-interest in order to emancipate the slaves. but then he considers a more imminent possibility. while jefferson said the moment had not arrived for
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virginians to exercise this generous energy that the british came into chesapeake bay the rating the shores of chesapeake and mounting increasingly aggressive invasions' into the interior that culminated in the capture of washington d.c.. and in the process of doing that the revolt began enslaved people to liberate themselves to. so jefferson is suggesting to establish a presence permanently to enslave
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thousands of african-americans because thomas jefferson was never known to say anything good about the british. but in this passage that they were offering arms to the oppressed. there is no notion that slavery was a just system in the suggestion is that the british would force emancipation upon them with the assistance of the oppressed. let me just go back the one phrase the of bloody process , the freeze in french that was a french colony in the west colonies that has since become the republic of haiti in the 17 nineties there was a very bloody revolution that
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enslaved people establish their freedom and would eventually in the next decade establish their own republic. this is something that deeply troubled virginians because they feared their own slaves would engage in revolution and in their nightmare fantasy killed men and women and children in their beds. and here is an image which expresses that they live on top of a powder keg and in age from 1832 that of the straits turner's rebellion. which does fulfill the fantasy but that is a one off. but last this nightmare scenario, this is a
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longstanding nightmare. for virginians. that enslaved people would rise up in rebellion the actual avens is while and was not applauding mass murder. something that is resinated out the rhetoric. with all the generations. why are the british in chesapeake bay? they don't normally liberate the slaves.
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with the expedition begins not deliberate more than a handful of men that could be useful as guide and by this. with the british don't want to do is repeat what they have done to help to liberate thousands of enslaved people men women and children. been saddled with the expenses for the war of 1812 the british wanted to be of forth as quickly as possible and to be left with as few responsibilities as possible. only free a few men who could be helpful. but hundreds of blacks about 600 during the year
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1813, and then women and children distilled canoes to go to the british. cannot deliberate slaves but to reflect as much damage of the american economy as possible to punish virginia which was perceived quite correctly the home of president madison secretary of state monroe they're perfectly willing to include their land as collateral damage. the 600 enslaved people go to the warships that they need the help of the escaped slaves. they cannot achieve their purpose without them.
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they do not know the lay of the land. they're very nervous about going on shore for fear of the ambush. it is only once they get experts on the landscape they become aggressive about going deep into the interior is and they have to go deep once they are receiving hundreds of refugees because they, along with the sailors and marines have to be fed. much of it comes from rating farms and plantations in the people who know where the cattle can be found worth the barnes containing provisions can be found with runaway slaves. just like infantrymen, colonial marines, guides, nurses, by the second year there
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absolutely is essential -- essential to the success of a more ambitious operation which is rating farther inland than ever before. this is a byproduct of the liberation what will become at least 3,000 people from virginia and maryland. much more threatening to the united states in 1814 the second year of the operation what i want to do now is one particular escape especially revealing occurred in 1814 on the virginia shore of the atomic to paddle across the
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sure to lay those very what they're after is the very go. doing this in the middle of the night they had stolen a canoe without waking anybody yet been managed to steal the ferryboat been taken back to the virginia shore to load of 17 people. to their portal to freedom. in the morning the masters discovered the slaves we're gone and in the words of one master in the course of the night and all their own articles of their own houses. armed white men had a swift
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boat in pursuit down the river but they were too late because the 17 escaped slaves had become free by reaching a british warship. the one to spend some time on this particular escape because it is very revealing of the overall pattern that i find as many escapes. first, it is not a spur of the moment emotional decision. they accomplished all this in the dark of night without waking up their masters. means me into possessions with them. second.
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the first stage of the first initial young men venture out to obtain the means to return of their farms and plantations in order to retrieve many more people. to get women and children out. so those men that initially steel the canoe they come back and look up 40 more. the most common pattern is for the initial leaders, the pioneers, to steal a canoe, a getaway to a british warship persuade the british to make a raid on their neighborhood in order to get out family and friends. this was the pattern in
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which zeke was one of the early pioneers who escaped to the british on april 18 with the british raiding party guided them on april 21st through 22nd to get out 26 people to freedom. it is 69 then becomes 70 because one of the women was so pregnant she gave birth that night on a british warship. she was that determined that her child would be born free. another pattern we find with this very bow to escape is the runaway slaves don't come from one property. the way the document survive
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with the wealthiest people already the largest properties with the large plantations. in the chesapeake said great majority of enslaved people of 1812 live on farms rather than plantations. that is much for common to find slave holdings of three or four or fibers six slaves a and 70 on a plantation. there were a large numbers occasionally but the most common pattern is many farm slavery is among many masters. but they're not all coming so extends beyond the boundaries of a particular
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property. but then those types of neighborhoods and then forms the neighborhoods largely at night or partially liberated and can travel to the neighborhood. learning the byways to avoid the slave patrol to be with a husband or wife or friends , cousins, local, and comic it is uncommon for a husband a and wife who live on the save the farm. they have always lived on different farmers.
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ended a more intimate waited in their best -- masters had to. and it will serve the british so well with the raid that almost always begins at night. another feature of this escape is the especially valuable slaves in the eyes of the masters. they are assessed in nearly $8,000 because they have to blacksmith, a carpenter's, a weaver and two clerks. we often think it is field hands it is true over half for field hands they had the
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artisan low-skilled or served as house servants and people who were house slaves were artisans had a much higher value than field hands in virginia. so it shocked the masters the most high value that they could trust for the most and they retreated a little better but it is such people that tend to repel when they have seen a little bit of opportunity to realize how much more opportunity has been denied to them. and finally the age patters cues to younger people. it is arduous work. it is dangerous.
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it tends to be yelling then and women in their 20's and '30's skewed a little bit toward midday and female but this particular group to include two young women and three children one of the features of the war is because the british warships are there in chesapeake bay the ability to get to them with the entire family groups is higher than peacetime escapes so we find it is overwhelmingly on 85 for 90% young men who go. in these wartime escapes it is two-thirds men and one-third female because there are more family groups i want to turn to this letter which is written five
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and a half years after the escape by the apparent leader. 1814 you can see his signature at the bottom committee was as proud of his signature as john hancock ever was. five 1/2 years before he wrote this letter back in '84 team he was considered the highest value slave to escape from abraham appraised at $800 because he was a blacksmith. that is hard physical labor but also requires a great deal of intelligence and ability to keep accounts. he is also the oldest member of the escape group at 35 so a natural person to be
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leader to and from the tone of this leader it is clear he was may 1820 he is thriving from the top because letters very conveniently put the place and the date. preston nova scotia. where is nova scotia? wears preston? a black township was formerly enslaved people that settled there after the war between 12 to comprise a majority. near halifax. now thriving as a free man he wanted his former owner to know it. so he wrote this letter now i realize this is a struggle in the back row.
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probably a struggle in the front row so i will read it. this is why reid class -- wear glasses are read letters for a living. >> sir, i take this opportunity to write these lines to inform you how you situated here. i have a shop and a set of tools of my own income doing very well. when i was with you, you treated me very ill. for that reason i take the liberty of informing you that i am doing as well as you if not better. [laughter] when i was with you, i worked very hard and do neither gave meet monday nor any satisfaction. but since i have been here, have been able to make gold and silver as well as you. the night that copley
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stopped me he was very strong but i showed him that subtlety was far preferable to strength and broadway others with me who thank daughter all doing well. so i remain. ps. my love to all my friends i hope they're doing well. [laughter] so this is an extraordinary letter. i have read thousands as a historian and this is the most important letter that i have found. what do i make of it? i would welcome your thoughts with this is what i make. as a free man he was especially proud he could make his own money.
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the enslaved people of virginia overwhelmingly were 304 fifth generation not fresh from africa they understood very well these society there around them and a valued people in terms of the money they could make and the possessions they could display in they felt deeply frustrated that other people to make money in display possessions of their labor and what he wants to tell abraham now he is a free man he makes his own money he is as good a man or a better man. what do i think is implicit -- implicit? suggesting he made his money
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more honestly at of his own labor that of other people. whose copley? i do not know. i cannot find him in the historical record but my guess is he was the overseer the only thing we can tell is he was a strong powerful man in he did something to obstruct this escapes then the most wonderful phrase in this letter that shinkin says subtlety is superior to strength this is a theme with the resistance to slavery have the size the way in which enslaved people had to hide their resistance
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to make it more effective than we have a former slave to put it up there explicitly that is exactly what happened somehow shane klan had fooled copley to pull off the escape to achieve freedom for 17 people and how is it that this letter survives? first-come i am not surprised to find a letter written by a former slave. this is a period before the 1832 law outlawing the teaching of literacy to enslave people with the previous generation literacy among slaves is more common than i think we have recognized. i am not saying most remitter it but it is most common to find literacy in that period or subsequently after 1832.
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almost all enslaved people have become christians and many want to read the bible. in the preachers want them to the and for those her partisans the masters want them to keep accounts. so shankland as a skilled blacksmith is one of the most likely to be literate for i cannot tell you when he learned before and after he was free but his aides is pretty good it compares to people in virginia white and black from this period of time and the signature is very practiced. how does a letter survive? his master saved it is submitted it to the federal
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government to be compensated for the 11 runaway slaves that he had known to the federal government sent of claims commission to compensate masters that could prove their slaves had escaped to go to the british this letter is worth $280 times 11 because he will get $280 for every former slave he can document went to the british and it is the best piece of evidence so i found this in the national archives in the record of the claims commission phenomenal set of records. so is his choice to seek money for those words to read today.
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just a couple of concluding images to wrap up this extraordinary story. here is a map that has british military operations you concede this symbol of a burning house that represents a sure way to and there in southern maryland and the northern neck of virginia that the british targeted. why? first, there was a black majority in those counties than they could get the assistance of a lot of people running away. is very difficult for the militia to muster or resist these attacks also the gate way to washington d.c.. the british are preparing to
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strike at washington the first half to neutralize militia resistance when they want to keep americans guessing if the attack on washington to go up the potomac river ultimately they will choose the toxin there was no resistance until they got up and indeed not until the outskirts of washington d.c.. i argue in the book this ability to neutralize resistance depended on the assistance they were receiving from the former slaves several hundred who had enlisted to become colonial marines that are the best troops the british have. why? they're the most highly
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motivated and the least likely to desert with their british had a problem with them running to the americans to make more money as american civilians former slaves to not desert to go to the united states. >> but the details of this convey the message. the u.s. capitol building shows the fire damage from the colonial marines but what is especially interesting in the upper right-hand corner in representation of lady liberty. and just below the lower right hand corner use the
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enslaved people. of so what is suggested in this image is slavery brought this on a guilty nation to mend its ways to restore divine favor to the united states. the final image the only known photograph to survive of one of the escaped slaves from the united states from the war of 1812 a much later photograph when he was 92 years old. he was 15 when he escaped in very early 1850's his name is gabriel he would go to
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nova scotia and prosper as a former this reveals that some people prospered from their escape but ask to be said most of those who went to nova scotia in george poverty. and the government of nova scotia was not enthusiastic about taking in refugees provided to them by the royal navy, encourage them to go back to slavery in the united states suggesting they would be warmer and happier as slaves than for people in nova scotia. how many do suppose accepted this invitation? [laughter] zero. they had decided they were
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free, maybe pour but three to make their own money and keep it. the most important thing is they could live together as families the worst thing about slavery and their experience is each individual was treated or they could rupture or divided by inheritance at the death of the master as happened with monticello after jefferson's death. said the most important benefit is they could live together with greater security than they ever could when they were slaves in the chesapeake. thank you. [applause]
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>> i told you he has a lot of unique material especially that better is a real gem. there are a lot of parallels with the american revolution. with the networks that they can travel hundreds of miles through different networks. the the assistance given by slaves to the british that they took in during the american revolution is georgia in led by a slave in
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and going to nova scotia but interestingly the parallel is equally fully treated and from nova scotia that they've led the expedition to sierra leone. i don't know if you want to comment on any of the parallels of earlier that was on a larger scale but between the two of them represents the biggest and dissipation before the civil war and when redo take questions from the audience please wait for the microphone. we are on c-span. >> cassandra who works on the revolution that suggests 6,000 to escape from virginia and about half of them died of disease before
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they could see if the then relocated to nova scotia so that is a comparable number i estimated 2800 so the key difference is it is a much healthier experience they're not subject to the same smallpox epidemic that killed so many that escaped with the revolution but but there were all relocated to sierra leone west africa so it went from having a black population that was substantial to have been virtually no black people. then there is a new search
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in the new group makes it clear they're not going anywhere. but those authorities the home government did not want to send them back to slavery. but the home government did suggest they go to trinidad. those who served in the colonial marines a and their families have 22 trinidad and that was prospered than those of nova scotia? but only 95 accepted the invitation of those already in trinidad. why did they go? they don't want to get on the ship again especially
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along the american coast by trinidad because they are nervous can they trust said shipmaster's to not sell them over might their risk a shipwreck? so there clear they're not going to trinidad o 95 would take the risk. it is a really bad talk that there are no questions after words. [laughter] >> i and the curious how this exodus of the white southerners looked at the slavery.
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>> that is a great question. i think something does change. what changes is up to the war of 1812, they're overwhelmingly supportive of the federal government thomas jefferson has been president succeeded by james madison succeeded by monroe, a washington, virginia is the biggest day, the most populist the most influential of the union said they expect the federal government will do what virginians want done. most of fall during the war of 18 drove to have the government defend them not just against the british raids but is keeping to the british the united states is overwhelmed by this war.
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they cannot supply the troops adequately and decide to make a priority to invoice -- invade canada and that leaves very few troops to defend virginia. almost all of these are other expose peninsula's foldable to british attack and poses a great expense and hardship to the militiamen those who have to put down their tools to go deal with the raid. it frustrates the leaders of virginia so the standing goes down. also the war of 1812 is when you read lenders are becoming far more vocal to say slavery in order to
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attack the leadership of the nation. so virginians are getting defensive about these attacks on their morality sedate immelt thinking it is not worth very much to us what if they engage in the rhetoric? and then in 8818 a republican congressman introduces say resolution to not admit the territory as a state unless it comes in with a constitution that provides for the gradual emancipation of the slaves. the state that is most adamant is virginia.
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so my reading is the war of 1,812th is a very important step of virginia to decide the whole you did is not what they trust if they have to have greater solidarity with there's blood dash fellow southern states that are not necessarily evidence before the war so i am not saying it is the one critical watershed but it is the important one is a very long process of many. >> thank you for your presentation. i am curious what could be said about repercussions of those who were left behind
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and what disincentives might have been imposed upon them? >> i wish i had evidence on that the and i don't. i have some for those who were caught trying to escape it seems that they would be whipped within an inch of their life then cast into jail for a while while the owners would arrange for their sale very far away from the coast. usually to the deep south. almost all of the escapes occurred in tidewater i do not know one from the piedmont during the war of 1812. said the decision was made if they catch anybody trying
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then they have to send them far away to turn them into cash to make your they aren't punished as the example that is about as in posing they will take them away from their family never to see them again and. the british would tell the runaway slaves they should never try to go back because the americans would hang them but i have not funded the evidence for that if they think it would be unlikely because if you hang someone you lose the value of them as property in virginians had a policy of the state compensating people the and i cannot find any compensation for executed runaway slaves during the war of 1812.
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>> is it not the case the virginia legislature of 1830 failed to pass a law abolishing slavery in virginia by only one vote? >> i am not clear it is just one vote but i thank you are thinking of late 18th 31 there is a debate in the house of delegates whether virginia should consider a plan for the very gradual emancipation of their slaves. that is linked to the forced deportation of the free blacks to liberia. at that time west virginia was part of virginia and that was the part of the state that was most willing to support such a plan that was pushed very hard by
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thomas jefferson's grandson. it is a planned that wetback to his father that he tried to rid vance and the state legislature in the previous decade into jefferson's own plan. it had been out there for a while associated with the jefferson family. it is a plan completely unfeasible. but the only thing that virginians could possibly consider as a motive they decided to cut off further debate and then would not consider the question in that is the last time that the virginia legislature consider any proposal for any form and under thomas
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jefferson randolph it would have taken several generations of his slaves and it could not have been followed through because nobody would levy the taxes and in fact, be enslaved people if they would not want to go to liberia. it was a pretty grim situation particularly for disease. and became pretty well-known. said gradual emancipation and linked to the colonization is a nonstarter for many reasons and that is what that episode was about. >> we have a question here. how many successful escapes' to a trinidad could you
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find? >> i don't know it be direct to trinidad but they would escapes to the british, the men would become organized as colonial marines, women and children came along later there would be dockworkers the and the british would relocate them to trinidad. some go to nova scotia some go to new brunswick some go to trinidad and those to go there are overwhelmingly those associated with the colonial marines and their settled known as company towns each were given their own village. the non commissioned
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officers then became the local magistrates and the local leaders who were responsible for maintaining order to determine justice in these communities. the one that is organized with the british. >> figure for that presentation. did you perchance run into any letters from trinidad refugees about their experience? i suspect it would be difficult.
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but i am just curious. >> i did not find any from trinidad but from scotland, london, the accounts of former slaves of spain so while i say they went there some became global travelers. one of the escaped slaves there is the account of the conversation with his master after he came on the ship to talk to their former slaves because the british wanted to make a point there were not kidnapping anybody who wanted to go back, could. this one slave said i was born to travel the world. he was not an a position to do much traveling as a slave in virginia but by becoming free he could.
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i have an account of a former slave ending up in india. i don't have letters directly but those to become a dentist:re of extraordinary stories but what they do have of the letters to report the condition and so there are several and one for whom is named to the founders of university of virginia where 6970 people became free. said he wants to know what happened so he sends an aged
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down to trinidad and he describes what the agent reported to him. it included the names of some former slaves it did not mention ezekiel but it mentions dick carter. >> about the same time the british to the emancipation of their slaves peacefully without any problems. how did they accomplish that? >> i would not say without any problems. because certainly the masters of the west indies almost all the slaves at that time were in the west indies. slavery was technically illegal in the mother country of england, wales
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england, wales, and scott went. there very few enslaved people there at that time. but there were more slaves in the west indies they and in virginia so it is not like their hands are completely clean. they conduct slavery at the same time for their own purposes they're hoping the enslaved people in the chesapeake become free but their true to their word at least. there is a canard that they took for the runaway slaves and sold them to the west indies but it is not true. i looked very closely and joseph carrington investigated very carefully and he concludes and none were sold into slavery by the british so they set of these societies in trinidad with three black people living right next to the
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enslaved people and this makes for the people in trinidad very nervous. but the government of trinidad that has no elected legislature has no interest to about and scrape so they are actually nervous. so having this particular element to free the blacks the officials seem to be in their interest. they could use it also if they rebuilt so the expectation was made very clear if there is a revolt that would help suppress it and also catch the run away and not receive them into their community. only in the 1830's the british makes a concerted effort for the gradual emancipation through this apprentice ship for enslaved
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people often people will get impatient and rise up so it is a little tinkled but it is true the british pulled off without a civil war but that is very easy to do in the political center is in london and the planter class has only limited power by the 1830's and parliament. much less than that period andrew has studied so well when that planter class was more influential than in the 1830's. >> this is the last question >> did the british consider sending them to sierra leone ore was that too far or did they not want to go back to africa in quotation marks?
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>> i don't see any evidence they proposed sierra leone for the chartwell education group refugees. why not? it was understood to have been a disaster. a very expensive disaster. . .
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first to get a today's coverage we will begin with george packer the author of "the unwinding" an inner history of the new america and erica grieder the author of "big, hot, cheap and right" what america can learn from the strange genius of texas. >> good morning. my name is glenn frankel and i'm the director of the school of journalism at the university of texas at austin. i want to welcome you. we have two superb authors and journals here this morning to talk about the state of the union and where we went wrong. we only have five minutes.
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we could spend 45 hours on this so we had better get rolling. i'm going to introduce our writers and ask a couple questions and turn it over to you. i want to remind you that when the session ends in a mere 45 minutes our two others will go to the signing tent toward the capitol building. there will be a place where you can buy copies of their books and then you can take them to the signing tent and have them sign. please follow us out when we leave. to my immediate left is george packer a staff writer for "the new yorker" magazine. he's author of the assassins gate america in iraq which received numerous prizes and named one of the 10 best books of the year by "the new york times." he has written two novels and two nonfiction books. he has written a play that ran off-broadway. george lives in brooklyn new york. his new book is called "the unwinding" an inner history of the new america he narrates and if the lives of four contemporcontempor ary americans a rust belt factory worker, a
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rural entrepreneur a silicon valley ilya nehr and a washington insider and he interweaves these was character sketches of leading public figures people like newt gingrich and colin powell oprah winfrey sam waldman and then he has a couple of particular moments in our recent history like the tampa florida real estate bust and the scandals on wall street and altogether it creates a portrait of america in decline and anxiety. the new york times reviewer wrote it is mr. packer's achievement in "the unwinding" that these pieces freshly shuffled and assembled have power to earn the book comes with sorrow with outrage and with compassion for those who are caught in america's increasingly complicated financial machinery. for all these reasons george's book is a finalist for the national book award. we have another great author here, erica grieder to my left and to george's lead. she's a senior editor of texas
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monthly from 2007 to 2012. she was helpless correspondent for the economist and has appeared in "the new york times" the spectator and the atlantic and foreign-policy. she attended columbia university and she has her masters degree in public affairs from the lbj school. she is from san antonio. she lives in austin. her book is called "big, hot, cheap and right" what america can learn from the strange genius of texas. erica's book is her first. it's a bit more conventional and structure than george's but unconventional and its message. it seeks to explain texas to the world and he gives an account of its economic successes that run counter to the kind of standard east coast left coast dismissal of texas has a place with too many guns and bibles and fanatics and not enough compassion. the texas observer which is itself a bastion of old-style liberalism in its review praised
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erica spoke as a welcome voice to the debate and called her an acute observer of the state's contradictions and she voiced the character and cliché that plays in so many books about texas about non-- biden nontexans. these are two different books yet they have similar concerns, what is gone wrong with our economy and our sense of community? what might be done to help make it better? i want to start with the basics and i will start with george. when did you first start thinking about this as a book and how did you come upon this particular distinctive narrative strategy which i gather emulates the trilogy from the 1930s -- the usa trilogy? >> you know it was a very strange process because i began to travel around the country at the time of the financial crisis because a lot of things are happening.
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a lot of historic and in some ways whirring things. i want to tampa and drove around these brand-new subdivisions which had become ghost subdivisions because in two years time everyone had left so you have these darkling gleaming new stucco houses and no human beings. the landscape was mesmerizing in that way. and i want to rural north carolina where the tobacco and textile industries had pretty much disappeared and look like inner-city poverty in a lot of places considered heartland america. how it became a book is a circular that story. i did three years worth of traveling reporting and finding the people who could carry the story forward. that is the key part in the hard part. the structure wasn't at all clear to me and really in the beginning of last year of 2012 i set down with these massive
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amounts of notes and transcripts and memories and thought what the hell mike going to do with this? i didn't have the form for it and it's actually not as able to get that far down the road without an idea of how it's all going to hang together. my wife reminded me at the start i had said what i want to do is break out of the straight forward journalism i have been doing from "the new yorker" which is fully straightforward in the narrow terms of longform journalism, a rare thing these days. and to do something more experimental and dos passos usa has been wanted my signal works of american literature since i was young. since my book came out i've been hearing from people so maybe it's not as forgotten as i thought. in the usa those dos passos has these fictional characters moving through history at the
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end of the 20th century. their lives are constantly being pushed this way and that and submerged and resurfaced by the big history happening around them. you are not given a straightforward history of the times. you are given the the history sort of the central nervous system and even the lower consciousness of of the country and along the way you meet the big figures like henry ford and woodrow wilson. it seemed like a viable form for nonfiction although a really problematic one because could i get deep enough into my characters lives that they would sustain 30 years of biography? it's not for me to say whether i have done that but that became a template for how organized all this material into a 30-year portrait. >> it's not for you to say but i can say i've been leaked reading it for the last two weeks and the intimacy with which you get
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into their lives in the way the book moves from the intimacy of that particular crises of the moment to the bigger picture of the communities that they live in and elevates from there is quite an achievement and i think that's one of the reasons why it's been so honored. did you know in the end -- the book has a sense of sadness to it. did you know going in that would even feel? >> to some extent. i felt there was a crisis going on and remember 2008 was one of those years which was when i began to think about this book when it seemed as if major institutions that had always sustained american life which is collapsing. the banks, the automaker's, government seem to be disintegrating as a positive force and so i knew that i was going to explore how ordinary people were experiencing a crisis.
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the sadness i think came from being introduced into their worlds. i'm thinking of a particular truckstop entrepreneur in north carolina who ends up going into iowa diesel and has a lot of problems along the way. he took me around the town in north carolina and all the main streets that were pretty much deserted all the stores seem to have been boarded up or were for rent. he told me it's not just the stores that have closed. those stores were owned by the pharmacist or the guy who would pillar of the community. they were the city or town councils in the little league coaches. they were in the pacific clubs and when they failed -- their businesses fail they failed so the town lost its pillars of support. when you ask where do people go
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shopping it's on the big hill at the big rock store which takes their money and send it elsewhere. it was not my own mood. it was the mood of some of the people i've met that i don't want to suggest is such a downer as all that. these are resilient resourceful people who have the capacity and it may be an american capacity to remake themselves when things look dire and to respond to a historical challenge i imagining a new way of working. i chose them partly because their lives kept taking these unexpected turns along the way so you always wanted to know what they were going to do next. >> i want to ask erica now basic to the same question. you have been covering the southwest for the economist magazine for i.d. or so.
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at what point did you come to decide that texas was a misunderstood place and that we needed a book and you were compelled to write a book and what surprised you the most when you started to write this? >> i think writing about taxes and living in texas there's this constant set of opportunities to correct misconceptions that you hear from friends and neighbors around the country. no, we don't ride horses to school and we are not the world order. i was a texan during the year since 2007 at beyond that i was covering the state and surrounding states and hearing the same thing that george describes that was hearing incredible tumultuous change in the national economy. i would be reading headlines about unemployment long-term
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unemployment, housing crisis financial crisis people losing their savings in kids finishing college and not finding jobs. those were the stories that we were hearing for years and what i was riding in texas was a different set of stories where we had some of the same troubles during the recession and during the downturn but we really evaded the worst of that i think and that made a pretty profound impression on me. we were seeing lower employment in the country as a whole for more than six years every month and seeing job creation in every industry and we also have a -- income quartile so more than half of the jobs in the state have been in the top two income quartile's where the state is growing rather than contracting. the fact that the state has a cartoon tradition and the fact that we are doing really well in a lot of ways that matter especially at that time.
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to me it added up to a set of good reasons to write a book about it. >> it's so interesting because you have been accused of defending the texas miracle and swallowing it whole but when you read the book you will offer many caveats along the way and even the title by referring to texas as having a strange genius i think sums up a certain amount of ambivalence. what about the folks who will say that the texas miracle oils down to too much oil and natural gas low unemployment due to mc jobs at walmart and ends up with poorly underfunded public schools and social services and a lot of people are exploited in this process? are not asking you to defend the island just wondering how do you address this kind of thing? >> i have gotten a fair amount. the first thing i would say it would be i think only by maybe
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to put it in a different way if we focus on the real problems in texas and we can critique goes all that we want but focusing on the wrong problems in texas is not a good approach. the data doesn't support a the research. the energy sec there and work forces been doing well but is not as important as it once was. it's not really a big driver of employment. as far cement jobs first of all i feel a little bit weird about that line of attack because i don't think any job is a bad job if you have that job. in this state we have a slightly higher rate of minimum wage workers than the national average but we have a lot of other workers also and their median income is with the national average is across the
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states on that kind of front the kind of characters -- to scrutiny. our schools are funded at a low per-capita rate but they have been a good system is best compared to some of the other state systems. if you look at -- sorry. >> that's the texas economy behind us. [laughter] >> fourth grade and eighth grade math reading and science. as a state we are the best of the big states on those scores and average overall. i'm not saying it's good enough but it's a realistic view of where we have started from and we are working from there. >> what i have found fascinating is that he took this discussion and pulled about into the history of the state. >> was trying to think why did we adopt this texas model we always talk about and you always
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hear it from the republicans who have been in control of the state for the past two decades but they didn't started. it's been this way since the beginnings of the mora started going backward to figure out when it started it really started back in the frontier in the republic. >> you are both journalists as well as authors so i think it's a fair question to ask where does ted cruz fit into all this? [laughter] george, ted cruz is not in your book but i can see him being one of those portraits and had you been writing that but now instead of in the last few years you might have been tempted as well. do you see -- could he easily fit in your portrait? >> the politician and i should say there are these 10 profiles of famous people and they chose the part of the life they come
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from. newt gingrich is the politician and the book. gingrich i think will be seen by history to be maybe more important than ronald reagan and bill clinton and barack obama for how he shaped the way our political class behaves and talks and thinks and the total war strategy that he brought to washington where he really tried to bring congress down. he was anti-institutional and there's a theme in the book of institutions kind of a rotting from within and congress i think most of us would agree is one of them. and gingrich was there at the start and he had a lot to do with the way politicians demonize their opponents so they could not possibly work with each other because they were the devil. it turned out gingrich actually called his opponent the devil and worked with him. the change i think is his
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successors called their opponents the devil and believe it and therefore are unwilling to shake hands with the devil. i mean ted cruz, what can you say? he's in and just think of mom among. i think erica you're working on something about him so maybe you'll have more to say about this. from afar i have to think maybe part of the success of texas here is you have exported your worst politicians. [laughter] [applause] so that they have become the country's affliction while you can go about your business of being an economic miracle. [laughter] >> all right eric i think it's your turn. >> i think ted cruz is really just a wonderful senator in any respect probably are less sense lbj. [applause] thanks.
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he was kind of different for us actually. at the end of the day they are business minded and cruz has always had a more philosophical ideological bend. he is a constitutional scholar by background. he certainly was to me a once in a generation political f-bomb -- phenomenon. everyone said there isn't a chance he could possibly win it. he has won it. i think he wrote the waives of certain trends -- the tea party trend and so on but he went for it and succeeded in that campaign context. i'm working on a thing for him right now that will be out in a few months. it's going to be a long profile. it's funny we started planning it out in june or july and we were saying our senator will have been in the senate for a year. let's do an essay looking at
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where he came from how he is doing and whether he has made an impact in d.c.. it's really turning into a full-time job because he made an impact in d.c. and he certainly been very visible. as you have noticed he is against the affordable care act. >> yeah we have noticed. [laughter] >> in some ways this past month has been more complicated than that. he has always sort of campaigned on this message that he wants more jobs more economic growth and anything against the affordable care act stands and where those schools and that is why he is so against it. as far as turning over the table aspect ted cruz i've got to say congress is that 9% approval rating and cruz -- an opinion on that. speakers my question. you have portrayed texas amid a
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good argument but at the end of the day people who run texas believe in limited government and they stay out of your way. they don't believe in very good government that they keep it minimal and they are very pragmatic. cruz and that was the dewhurst into an accident governor perry and cruz is coming from a different angle hasn't he? he has some of those aspects as you point out that there's this whole other other aspect to the right in texas that has been very effective electorally and seems to be much more in your face about a set of principles. is this a new phenomenon do you think? >> yeah, it's interesting. in the look i think there's a pendulum effect in american politics and probably texas politics. the republican party has gotten so successful in one so thoroughly and so often in recent years i think they're at risk of running too far to the
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right so things start moving back towards center. they have the end build advantage that there aren't a lot of democrats running it in a certain time. there is still not a senate candidate on the democratic side which is astonishing in a state the size that you see right now the amount of primary infighting in texas for next years election and everyone scrambling to get further and further to the right and in pursuit of that we have had strange issues like they all want to repeal the 17th amendment which is not a public concern. there is this sort of self perpetuating push towards the right right now probably partly inspired by cruz who is seen as somebody who did that successfully. >> that brings me back to george. what interests me about this and you wrote about this in "the new yorker" recently the extent to which there's a self-correcting mechanism going on that may be represented by the failure of the shutdown. cruz has a lot of support in
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texas and his popularity doesn't seem to have declined at all but elsewhere in the country's polls are showing a blogging to get back to some middle ground. it was at the warren is one of the people you portray heroic lay in the book. do you see a self-correcting mechanism through all of this through your perspective that this could come back and will it come back? i know journals hate to predict. i know i do but to what extent do you think the country has the ability or the capacity to move back to the center or even a bit to the left to deal with some of the issues you describe in the book? >> we always have had that power. in the prologue to my book i have a historical riff that talks about other periods when institutions seem to be failing in politics and the economy weren't working very well. the civil wars the most traumatic example and the crash
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of 29 in the great depression is another. we have come back from those a stronger country with new institutions for rebuilt ones that answer the problems and the challenges of those days. history suggests that we have an almost infinite capacity for renewal. but we have had a long-term trajectory of growing economic inequality, diminished social mobility, upward mobility, flattened wages and a halloween out middle-class which is what i saw in places like youngstown ohio in the piedmont area of north carolina and tampa, florida. silicon valley with its you know self-congratulatory miracles has not had the engine power to reverse that. wall street far from having the
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power to reverse it has probably accelerated it so maybe texas is going to sail off into the sunset of prosperity while the rest of the country continues to struggle. i don't know. who knows but what i worry about is that our leaders and the institutions they run don't seem to be capable of correcting themselves. in fact they seem each year to try to outdo the follies of the previous year. so and there is also no silver bullet. this is a key thing. just as is difficult to explain in one phrase why texas is doing well it's also difficult to explain what it would take for national institutions to be renewed because there are all kinds of factors from globalization and deindustrialization and the loss of manufacturing jobs to the financialization of the economy
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and to an erosion of norms at the top where leaders feel it's okay to do things that they used to not feel was okay to do which brings us back to ted cruz. that is all a huge ovation of the question because the one question i most dread and really try to reject is the prediction of the future. it's our job to describe what we see and what we hear and to convey to you as deeply as we can. >> listen i would like to throw things open. we have a microphone in the front and we would ask you to come and lineup. please keep your questions very brief and make them questions because we don't have much time with these folks. but we are really interested in what you will have to offer so let's start with the first lady in the front. >> we moved here -- >> it's not on.
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try it now. >> hi george. i will just project. hi george. we moved here in 1994 from silicon valley to san antonio and what culture shock experience at that particulaparticula r time. my husband was involved in the banking industry and had many -- since 1994. my husband has had many turbulent years since 1994. i know within your book you want to silicon valley and valley and should be it a billionaire. guess a billionaire, that is what i said but i would appreciate it if you would expound how california is doing since i'm a former california native. when we came here austin was the most technologically advanced city within texas but it's an aberration compared to the power of silicon valley and the eighth largest economy in the world. thanks.
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see i left california when i was 18 which was a long time ago. in fact that is when the book begins calm to 1978 so i'm not as up to date on on the california unamusing might be. i have gone back to the place which i grew up which became silicon valley when i grow up. obviously silicon valley is this sui generis amazing magical seeming place where people can go and there's a sense of meritocracy. if you have a good idea you could make it no matter who you are and where you come from. they're not interested in where you come from. i wrote about silicon valley in "the new yorker" a few months ago after finishing that book and the founder of paypal. the feeling i got is silicon valley had become a little more like wall street in the sense that people were going there for a quick payoff rather than to
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solve a big difficult engineering problems which was through in the 70s and 80s. it was becoming a little bit decadent in the sense that it was cut off from the concerns of the country and from the troubles of the country. people there seemed to be really in a plan to have answers and instead it was more about increasing its own wealth regardless as well as up all the information available in a rather intrusive and big brother way. i'm not a huge fan of facebook and twitter and i find silicon valley seems obsessed with increasingly uninteresting problems. the problems being 20 years old and having a lot of money to burn. [laughter] the rest of california has really struggled as we all know although the last few years governor brown seems to have turned around the budget and found some revenue for schools. the year i left california in
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1978 something called proposition 13 passed so i got out of high school just as california was about to cut and since then it has sunk to near the bottom and educational achievement in the country. i think there is no way you cannot draw a connection between that decision and 78 and what happened to the california schools. lately they have done to restore some of that revenue base but i'm not there and i can't really say. >> erica if i could ask you to what extent is the digital revolution of the silicon valley important in texas and been a part of the texas miracle over the last decade? >> we have certainly seen a lot of growth in that area and in san antonio in san antonio there has been the growth of the tech sector. there is still a constrained environment for investment in texas so the venture capital engine, we don't have that size
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here. the california texas comparison is one that ice comes up and one that thought that california has so many problems that are videos send traffic so it's not really fair -- idiosyncratic. california is a state that and i'm not saying this to make fun of california. it's got a lot of wonderful things and good intentions but it has a higher property rate than texas and as for schools in texas. i don't think it has better helping outcomes and this is the one state where we are still improving equity rather than seeing it destroyed. to me what i'm looking at the politics of the state and thing at about the outcomes and the effects if not more as much as the intentions. >> to violate the objection i
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got both of the books this past summer not knowing you would both be here and they were both spectacular i thought. in the sense that they provoke provoke -- they both provoke a lot of new thinking around topics where people think about all the time. one small editorial comments. i've lived in the northeast along time and moved to austin three years ago and i still work in new jersey. texas understands the rest of the country far better than the reverse. a principle principle reason maybe the editors of "the new york times" who devote a lot of attention to hammering on texas schools in particular and i agree the data are far off. thank you. >> all right let's get to the next one. >> hi george. i think you may remember me from toronto. i wanted to ask you. >> i can't really hear you.
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you have to lower the microphone. >> my question is this. you still can't hear me? >> you have to lower the microphone. >> my question is this. your book has been interviewed extensively. [inaudible] what the addendum would you make to correct -- and what's -- the most among any review backs. [inaudible] >> i read them but i hate talking about them. do i really have to talk about my reviews? there was a kind of recurring criticism that came from both
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the left and the right and i have to say the most positive reviews came from one of three categories, you either fiction writers, foreigners or the heartland of the country. i got a great review from the "dallas morning news" and other papers in the middle of the country. the criticisms came from washington and new york and they came from the right in the left and they came from a few that thought the book should have been this or that in a different way. it should've had more data. it should have had 10 solutions at the end. it should have been a different book and what can you say to that? it's not the book i set out to right and probably would have killed the book that i set out to write. i take those points. people want answers and they want you to fit into part of the political dialogue on them but i have to say my ambitions were more literary. i wanted to write a new kind of nonfiction book that would take readers lower down in the
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cerebral cortex than they usually are when they are reading the op-ed page of the newspaper. so that didn't quite answer a question that yes. >> erica if i could ask you the same question. how do folks on the east coast and the left coast for whom your book is a critique, how was the response and what do you do you learned anything from reading the reviews? >> this is in my first book. i'd written one before. i got totally hammered from both sides inside the state and outside the state. said political topic. i think it's a pretty balanced book and that was a total disasters far as reviews. but actually pretty much the opposite. i got a good review in inert times of "the wall street journal" which is great because now i can always say that whenever i get in a fight on twitter which i like. the worst review i got was in
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the statesman possibly. [laughter] the reviewer is a friend of mine from here. >> was a friend. >> no, nope. he is a friend. he is an english guy part of the new world who moved here and he thought the book did not have enough focus on people like sam rayburn and not briscoe, raeburn really and i found it hard to disagree. >> next question. >> the texas education system -- [inaudible] >> c. it's a great question. to kind kind of breakdown the data will more what we have seen in the schools if you look at the test scores in the public
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school system in the grade schools and middle schools if you separate students by ethnicity and read those results in every category texas anglo and african-american students math reading through 4th-grader in the top five with their peers around the country and the reason the state as a whole gets in average -- is because of persistent racial and ethnic achievement gap which is in every state unfortunately. as far as how it plays out, there's an ongoing political discussion about how much funding matters to the schools. our schools spend half of what california's two per-capita but they are still getting better results. i think improving equity for the parents have seemed better economic outcomes across-the-board especially thinking about it in terms of
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the disparities that persist for ethnic groups in the state. if we did improve those outcomes we would see better outcomes in the schools overall. actually the best -- the departmedepartme nt of defense schools. if you treat the schools as a separate system they have the smallest racial achievement gap in the country apart from west virginia where everyone does poorly so it's not a good example. so i'm not sure what it is about the military schools that do so well but i think it's partly because you're talking about an environment where parents all of them are deployed or at least one parent is deployed and i think that has a very good effect on kids. >> i have been in texas for 15 years and i think it's a great state but it was and a small town in ohio like youngstown
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with all the loss of the basic industry in this country and manufacturing. my question come to georgia want to read your book is the concept is right down my alley but do you think a book will ever be written that will take us through from roosevelt fdr's office to where we are today relative to the political environment we are in now because everyone is pointing their finger at the current administration but they don't realize it has taken us many many years to get where we are at. unemployment, paper textile and capital manufacturing. i would like to ask you if you could write a book that would
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cover that subject, got okay? [laughter] [applause] >> thank you, sir. thank you for your confidence in me. i don't share it. there have been a lot of great books written about the roosevelt years in the years since. my book covers a period that began in the late 70's. i think of different sort of generations or multiple generations in american history as being distinct and taking different turns. i think there was a period from the 30s to the early 70's that i call the roosevelt republic because it really was created during the years of the new deal and came to fleur should and the post-war years when the middle class was never bigger and more prosperous, when in the public schools were never better and when there was never more economic inequality and also never more of a sense that voting mattered, good at your
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local clinical party office could actually reflect your voice and take it up higher and when the banks were never more boring which is what they should be. and there were a lot of things wrong during that era. we know exactly what they were. we know how many americans were excluded from the deal that came out of the roosevelt years but they fought their way into it. those years had the power of self correction that you talked about. i think it came to an end sometime around the oil shocks and inflation in the beginning of the industrialization in the 70s which is why my book begins in the late 70's as the beginning of a new era in which more and more wealth was made on paper in fewer and fewer things were made in this country. it turns out you cannot get rid of manufacturing like in a town that gentleman is from and ohio
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without undermining the prosperity of the middle class. no one has come up really with a solution to that problem. we have some new manufacturing jobs in pockets around the country but they just don't employ nearly enough people and they don't pay what they used to. it turns out that not everyone can be a software engineer and if everyone were then it wouldn't solve some other problems. so i'm not really in the solutions peddling business. a lot of other people are and you should certainly listen to them but i do think looking back the kit pointed those two areas and although it was a lot longer than the first one if you had to pick langley, do i want to be someone in that time for this time the chances of having a decent life than work better than now. >> we have got time for one more question. >> this question is for erica.
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it seems there's a distinct vision if not the best society than the one you were just talking about a society of the vision of a decent society. granted what you are saying about texas with its strange genius and flourishing in ways that the rest of the country isn't necessarily, but it doesn't seem -- is there a vision that society embedded in that for you and what does it look like? i live in texas and i like texas that it's not the society your book describes and doesn't seem like it's going in that direction. something else. so what is it? and american life by way of texas? >> the problems george describes in his book are problems that the entire country and world will face. we need to fundamentally reshape
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how we think about working with kind of jobs are the kids -- jobs that kids start working in high school or even grade school and we are in the middle of figure that out. the only thing with a shift towards is working in the service professions caring professions teaching etc. as compared to manufacturing. we as a state or one of the ones that has had some benefit from seeing preserves and manufacturing of exports of trade in that kind of thing because the where we are located and how are our economy has been historic but for this state what i would like to see for us would read treat employment ad jobs as a public good. our state model our state government does emphasize that in that is really useful but we will need to kind of pivot towards greater investment in the human infrastructure of the state things like roads and things that water and community colleges and i would like to
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also see a family project in state government project. what we are doing in the present tense is fine. where we are struggling is wealth indicators. we have people doing well right now but aren't building a cushion of stability that helps prevent them from disruptions that happened to all of us eventually so i would like to see that issue access to credit housing. >> folks we are going to have to stop anyone to remind you these two folks are going to be at the tenth. i want to thank them both and thank you for your questions. [applause] [inaudible conversations] that was george packer and erica
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grieder live from the 2013th texas book festival. booktv has covered this festivals were several years and marks our 15th anniversary on c-span2 we will look at authors have presented at this festival in the past. >> there was an underlying tension between the president and lbj. much that have to do with style and personality. jfk did not relish the close company of the vice president. he complained complained to his secretary evelyn lincoln that johnson wanted to travel with him on air force one whenever the two men were to appear together in a political conclave. not only was it imprudent for the president and his standing to travel by plane together he did not look forward to being confined to close quarters with his vice president. kennedy also thought lbj talked too much it meetings.
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after one of these the president remarked we never got a thing done today. linda never stop talk. for his part johnson seldom felt at ease with the camelot crews surrounding jfk. predominately east turner's predominately ivy leaguer's were remote from his own cultural circle. he lacked the cultivation of the harvard intellectuals who advise the president. he could not converse about recent literature for the arts. he did not go to concerts or movies or plays. he was ill at ease at the various gatherings the kennedys held for outstanding scholars and cultural luminaries. the kennedy entourage for their part despite the president's instructions scorned him and called him uncle corn palm and considered him a prude exhibitionist aloud texan. within the social circle of attorney general robert kennedy the hickory gang named after the kennedy robert kennedy stayed in the virginia suburbs the vice
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president was a favorite but at one point in 1963 at gift to bobby buys friends of and lbj voodoo doll produced a great collective laugh. he disapproved of the disrespect from johnson and later noted the merriment is overwhelming. the provocations of bobby and some of them or call jim rowe were pretty outrageous. johnson undoubtedly knew of the kennedy people were saying in private to try to ignore it. he was determined to be according to columnist william quite first of all a loyal vice president and publicly did everything in his power to live up to this principle as long as kennedy was president. he never openly disagreed with anything that jack did and went out of his way to make sure that he never uttered a critical word about the president even to his own political friends in the senate. johnson enjoyed poking fun at people and had a gift for making
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his rivals and enemies look ridiculous. his self-restraint towards kennedy had to exact to consider emotional price but he was restrained not only by loyalty and piety, the also realized he could not be at breakaway vice president like -- and antagonized franklin roosevelt and being dropped from 1940 ticket. if he could keep his distant tents and resentments bottled up for eight years he would stay on and 64 and four years later get kennedy support in his own bid for the presidency. that he kept his tone about the president himself johnson sneered at the harvard too surrounded him. his whole adult life it then dedicated to action and getting things done. the kennedy crowd often preferred to believe to talk endlessly about theoretical issues rather than act but he also felt insecure and resentful in their presence. however much he chewed the
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president own ears he seldom spoke have been cabinet meetings or get together with congressional leaders. kennedy later complained to his friend george smathers, i cannot stand johnson's long dam face. he just comes and sits at the cabinet with his face all screwed up and never says anything. he looks so sad. johnson's supposedly assistant assistant -- reticence as a member of the steering committee during the 1962 cuban missile crisis around the contempt of attorney general robert kennedy already prejudiced against lbj. kennedy later joked that during the tense meetings when the world seem to totter on the edge of nuclear catechism lyndon johnson never made any suggestions or recommendations as to what we should do. after each meeting he would
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circulate and whine and complain about our being weak. in fact as the record shows the vice president did speak up once or twice during the meetings but he clearly felt out of step with such foreign-policy wizards as secretary of state dean rusk secretary of defense robert mcnamara and national security visor george bundy and for bobby who already knew johnson for grossly distorted lenses his role on xcom performed a texan was an ignorant lightweight unsuited for world leadership. the gap between the nation's two top officials extended to their wives here jacqueline kennedy at graduate of eloquent ax supporters had attended -- in paris. she was clever fashion all of and beautiful and love the arts but she was snobbish and extravagant. she was clearly in a dormitory handsome husband. she could not be counted on to undertake mundane political responsibilities although when
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she did she impressed everyone with her talent and style. she was jealous of her husband's other women and was often resentful and withdrawn three she poked fun at mrs. johnson's devotion to her husband remarking at one point that lady bird would crawl up pennsylvania avenue on her hands and knees over broken glass for lending. if i may interject, a very snide disgusting remark. lady bird in fact was smart plain impractical and excellent businesswoman and as jackie observed fiercely loyal to her has been preached was also exceptionally supportive of landon and provided the emotional balance yet desperately needed. if lyndon romance of the women she didn't let it affect their relationship. no matter what is happen she knew she was the most important woman a picture is a fundamental source of advice a couple informed on all political matters. an article in the washington evening star said that the
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gentle manner of mrs. lyndon johnson masked stamina efficiency and a strong sense of purpose. she is feminine friendly and folksy. when johnson became vice president she formed a small class before a a four washington wives to learn spanish because she felt the hemisphere is terribly important and she wanted to speak the language of the people who live in it. a. >> on your screen is a live picture the texas book festival in downtown austin and extends over several blocks. search of the state state capitd comes down congress did in the center of downtown austin. live coverage on booktv all day long and we will be back in just a few minutes with the next panel. [inaudible conversations] >> the major struggles of being
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president that you run for office and you say vote for me i'm going to do these things and parenthetically i want to say this, the image that many people try to create his most presidents are somehow corrupt and without conviction and say what they want to say. thomas patterson who is as far as i know the preeminent scholar of the relationship between the presidency and the media has said looking over the last several presidencies -- principles he said it's astonishing how hard presidents try to do precisely what they want to do when they run unless something big happens. two of our three greatest presidents lincoln and roosevelt wrote their most visible campaign promises, thank god. lincoln promised in his first in and a girl not to free the
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slaves, come making holding the union together in stopping the expansion of slavery and roosevelt promised when he ran in 32 that he would balance the budget. which was precisely the wrong thing to do when they country had 25% unemployment. but by and large presidents do try to keep their campaign promises and one of the real issues is how do you run a fast and complex enterprise like this and still deal with all the incoming fire? for example, president bush did not run for president to deal with osama bin laden but he did clearly want to get rid of saddam hussein when he was running and anybody who paid close attention to his campaign speeches would have seen he was obsessed with saddam hussein. but he never really thought 9/11 would happen.
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so 9/11 happens and when those things happen you have to choices. you can say well, do i ran for president to do these things so this is what i'm going to do but if you don't respond that this was so major it shaped his whole verse term but if you don't respond to things that happened then you will fail. on the other hand if all you do is respond to what happened and you forget to pursue the agenda that compelled you to win in the first place you will probably fail. so lincoln was somewhat disingenuous, although technically accurate when he said in the midst of the civil war by -- my policy is to have a policy. that's not true. his policy was to preserve the union, higher hell water -- hell or high water in the
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process he wanted to free the slaves but his policy realized he was so controlled by a fence that he had to create the tactics and make it up as he went along. but every president if you look at every president in history and you try to evaluate what's going on you have to see the constant struggle that is in the minds of the white house staff, to the cabinet, everybody involved in the enterprise between how to pursue the agenda they ran to pursue and how to deal with the incoming fire. and i try to tell that story.
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>> i would like to start a conversation and this brings me to the larger point about what citizenship means and what are our obligations to each other and how do we create a stronger link between the decision-making in washington and the daily experience experience of peoples lives? this is not just in foreign policy. the same is true with the respective economy. this week we saw the dow go over 12,000 points. if you're walking down wall street the economy looks great. if you go to decatur illinois for galesburg illinois or peoria illinois the economy looks very different and the reason is because the top 1% has seen better -- their incomes rise 500% over the last decade and the average working stiff has seen their wages and salaries flatlined. the top 1% is much more likely
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to participate politically than the other 99% and so we have these distortions in terms of how decisions are made in washington. i don't have a magic solution to it that part of the reason i wrote this book was to suggest that there have to be ways for us to reengage the citizenry around the project of american renewal both domestically and internationally. ..

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