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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 30, 2014 3:30pm-5:31pm EST

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the cuban military -- might have to march to pretoria and oust forcibly the apartheid ruler. and, of course the prospect of that happening made them much more susceptible to sweet reason and led to the first democratic elections in south africa, as you know, in the spring of 1994 the election of nelson mandela, which is why in december 2013 when nelson mandela had his funeral in south africa, one of the few heads of state who was asked the speak amongst all of the heads of state present was president raul castro of cuba. [applause] in any case, you should also know that during the civil war spanish cuba or the spanish who ruled cuba, were in a quandary. on the one hand, they suspected that whoever won the north or
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the south during the u.s. civil war, that the winners would want cuba because there had been a lust for taking cuba for decades previously. this had been this effort to make cuba a state of the united states of america. so that's one idea that's sirlating in the -- circulates in the minds of the rulers in cuba. another idea that's circulating is they should be in solidarity with their comrades who are slave owners in the south in order to defeat the north. but then again, as i said if the south had won, the south would be after cuba ousting the spanish. but in any case, at the end of the day they decided to open their ports to the confederate states of america, so-called. but after the defeat of the confederate states of america there was tremendous pressure on cuba to abolish slavery, and a bloody war e erupted to that end leading to the rise of a figure
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who may be known to many of you. i'm speaking of antonio ma say owe. like many of you know, he was considered to be a hero amongst black americans. you have many black americans today who carry the name of maceo. come on, now. [applause] [laughter] and this event chaited in years of war and as so often happens as the cubans and the spanish are slugging it out, the united states decides to intervene in the war of 1898 and basically, knocks out both sides and takes over the island of cuba. and as noted, tried to implant a system of jim crow as ferocious as the system that operates on the mainland. this leads, among other things to the so-called race war in cuba circa 912. that is to say -- 1912.
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that is to say thousands of africans are massacred on the island of cuba may/june 1912. and i think part of the story that i tell in this book that i think is something of a contribution, if i may say so, to the historiography is i highlight the role of the u.s. authority in terms of the so-called race war. because they are basically ruling cuba in real sense and so when you have africans massacred in cuba, it seems to me that the blood is on the hands of uncle sam. in any case, a turning point in the history of cuba comes with the russian revolution october 1917 which leads to the rise of of the communist party although that was not its technical name on the island of cuba. interestingly enough, this communist party is led mostly by africans which is something of,
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shall we say, major concern to the u.s. authorities because they suspected correctly that these africans in havana would want to extend assistance to africans across the florida straits, then languishing under a brutal system of jim crow. you may also know e that in cuba there was quite a bit of solidarity without folks on this side of the florida straits. you recall the scottsboro case in the early 1930s, the nine black youth in alabama who were slated for execution because of false allegations of sexual molestation of two euro-american women. but an international movement erupts to save them from the gallows. and, in fact this movement also helps to establish constitutional principles that are still in operation; that is to say, with regard to representation of black people on juries, for example, which was basically not occurring before the scottsboro case. you had tremendous solidarity in
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cuba on behalf of the scottsboro nine up to and including bloodshed, people -- cubans dying in protest on behalf of the scottsboro nine. but there's a story i tell in this book -- and this is something perhaps you could talk about in question and answer as i speed to the conclusion of my remarks -- about how black americans were perceiving cuba and how their trying to understand cuba and how they're trying to understand cuba particularly in terms of the quote race relations that exist in cuba which are not necessarily the same as obtained on the north american mainland. that becomes something of an issue throughout the decades. in any case, i conclude this book by talking about the fact that afro-cuban by the name of francisco rodriguez plays a
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central role in black american history because he's the lawyer for the naacp in the 1950s when jim crow is under assault in florida. he's the chief attorney. you may know that you had a bus boycott in tallahassee than in many ways was more significant than the better known bus boycott in montgomery alabama which of course leads to a section of the 10 freeway named after rosa parks. and francisco rodriguez was the chief attorney, and this was in many ways an emblem of this longtime, long-term solidarity between cubans and black americans between after -- afro-cubans and african-americans. and i think that what has happened since january 1 1959, is that a lot of that history has been forgotten because of
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the cruel and illegal blockade embargo of cuba which the united nations just condemned just a few days ago by a vote i believe, of 188-2. i think u.s. and israel were the only countries -- [laughter] that voted in favor of this blockade. interestingly enough. and i think that it's very important for us to remove the mental blockade which i think will be a prelude to removing the actual blockade. because one of the stories i tell in this book with regard to the bad old days of the african slave trade is that at a time when we african-americans were commodities traded like furniture or cattle, that you could be an afro-floridian one day, an afro-cuban the next day perhaps an afro-brazilian the day after that. that is to say that perhaps be unbeknownst to many of us we probably have relatives in cuba. but it's going to be very difficult to find our relatives
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as long as a blockade. and so it seems to me that we, as ever -- that is to say is we people of african descent as ever -- should be in the vanguard of trying to eliminate this cruel and illegal blockade if only for reasons of self-interest so we can rediscover our relatives on the other side of the florida straits. thank you very much for your attention. [applause] >> come to the mic for any -- >> [inaudible] >> come to the mic, we're taping tonight's -- [inaudible] we won't be able to hear you in the audience --
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[inaudible] [laughter] [inaudible conversations] >> if you don't mind. face the audience. [laughter] >> dr. horne could you please elaborate on sister -- [inaudible] down in cuba and talk about the media situation in terms of our support to her, for those who don't know? >> yes, thank you. you're referring to father shah cur, formerly known as -- [inaudible] who was incarcerated by the u.s. authorities and was able to escape their clutches. and like many before or since, was able to find refuge on the island of cuba where she still resides. a couple points. one is that part of the success of our efforts our struggles over the decades and centuries
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is the ability to have a rare base. i'm going to talk tomorrow about mexico as a rare base for people of african descent. just like there was an underground railroad to canada, there was a similar underground railroad to mexico. when we had this relationship with the british, we had a rear base in bermuda and we had a rear base in the bahamas. i talk about what happens in november 1841 when these africans are being transported from, i believe, virginia to the kmart of the slave trade which was new orleans. they revolted off the shores of bahamas and overthrew their captors sailed to the bahamas. when they arrived in the bahamas abolitionist britain freed them all to the consternation of the u.s.
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authorities because bahamas was our rear base. and likewise cuba, after 1959 particularly became our rear base. you know the countless black panthers found refuge in cuba include huey -- including huey p. newton in the '70s, and similarly our sister shakur. she has found a rear base in cuba and has been able to escape the evil clutches of the u.s. authorities. and i think that going forward in the 21st century as our struggle escalates and intensifies against these rapacious rulers who are now occupying the halls of congress in washington, d.c., that many of us will find the need to have a rear base. and if history is any guide cuba will continue to serve as that rear base. so i'm very happy, babu that
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you mentioned sister shakur, because i think in some ways she symbolizes and exemplifies not only the struggle that we all cherish but also how it's possible to escape the clutches of these u.s. authorities escape the jurisdiction of the u.s. authorities just like the maroons did in jamaica as early as the 1730s and just as sister shakur has done in cuba. >> dr. hop horne, appreciate the evidence you're sharing with us. can you explain how the spaniards gave mexico independence and became president, somebody should be lauded not only here, but in mexico if you could expound more on that. >> well, i don't want to preempt what i'm going to say
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tomorrow -- [laughter] plus i don't want to repeat your very illuminating words, but suffice it to say that it's difficult to understand and difficult to explain sometimes that the system of white supremacy that obtained here in north america was not necessarily the same as the system that obtained in other parts of the americas. in many ways the system here was worse, and the reason that i say that is because a couple points. one when ian smith declared the independence of the white minority regime in november 1965, he argued that he was walking in the footsteps of the rebels who rebelled against british rule in 1776.
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and he had a point. because the rebels rebelled against british rule were trying to escape the logic of abolition of slavery. ian smith was trying to escape the logic of decolonization of africa and one vote, one person -- one man, one vote, to use the term of that time. so in many ways the establishment of the united states of america, contrary to the opinions of even some of our friends on the left, was not a step forward for humanity, it was a great leap backwards. and it was particularly a great leap backwards for the indigenous population and the african population. you should also know that in terms of the rather easy argument that's often times put forward, that the kinds of liberties and rights that were established in the united states of america at the end of the day outweighs the atrocities and the depredations. but what you need to realize is that the, when the united states
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was formed and when they fought this war against britain and therefore after their triumph this was basically a war zone. and how do you attract migrants to a war zone? well, you have to make more enticements and inducements that they would obtain at home. and therein you have the creation or the acceleration of what's often times referred to as budger boy democratic rightings -- rights. you know the right to vote was limited, but you also know it's been so difficult to extend it to the rest of us. even this past tuesday, we're the ill trying to get the legitimate -- we're still trying to get the legitimate right to vote. voter suppression is the hallmark of the united states in 2014. i dare say that one of the top
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items on the agenda of this incoming republican congress will be ever more devious and devilish ways to circumscribe the right to vote. so it's much too easy to suggest that these so-called bourgeois democratic rights made the atrocities right. certainly, it's not the quite of argument they would make towards the socialist camp. they wouldn't say well, violations in the socialist camp helped abolition forces. no they don't say that. they say no, it was a disaster. full stop. and if you argue otherwise, you're callous and maybe you should even lose your job. but that's the kind of argument that's used with regard to rationalizing what happened on these shores. another point. if this revolt against british rule that led to the establishment of the unite was such a step forward for -- of the united states was such a step forward for humanity then why is it that canada by most objective indices has a better standard of living and is a more
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suitable place to live -- particularly for white working class people. they have the single-payer health care system which i keep hearing is the kind of system we should have in the united states. you may have heard that two days after the election on tuesday the supreme court has now reached out to adjudicate once again the affordable care act. and don't be surprised if it's left sprawling in the dust. so if canada -- you know, we have a control group as the social scientists say. canada did not have a revolt against british rule. it's a better place to live. united states had a revolt against british rule and it's been hell a living hell for people of color in particular. or what about australia? in australia, which has a history very similar to that of the united states of america, the forcible implantation of white supremacy for example there's a thriving historiography by australian historians that criticize the
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origins of australia. even historians on the left in the united states of america they're drinking the kool-aid. i mean, they're talking about the united states as this great leap forward for humanity incomplete bourgeois revolution. you might as well say apartheid in 1948 which basically led to enhanced rights you may as well use the argument that apartheid in many ways was a great leap forward for humanity because it formed a template that would then be applied to nelson mandela. so appar tiled, not something to struggle against, is the liberation for -- i mean, this is nuts. [laughter] this is insanity. but this is the sort of mental gymnastics that many of our progressive friends have been forced into, and so no wonder the moo. on the left so weak -- the movement on the left is so weak in the united states if they haven't even been able to
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escape the creation myth that led to the creation of this country. and once again, to reiterate the takeaway, we have been able to advance thus far from slavery to where we are today not only because of our constant struggle our constant, unrelenting struggle but because of our ability to take advantage of the international situation. and having friends in the international commitment. and -- community. and until we ingest this lesson fully the way, apparently, the parents of michael brown have ingested this lesson, i think we'll be perpetually in trouble. [applause] >> first of all i'd like to thank you for enlightening me. you said as you may well know -- [laughter] i didn't know about any of this stuff. [laughter] now, i went to a certain university of california school
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in westwood, i won't mention its name -- [laughter] but a professor said the that people liked it the way it was in the south. and my response was to her, well, if blacks couldn't vote natives couldn't vote, women couldn't vote poor white guys couldn't vote, if 90% were disenfranchised, how would you say they liked it the way it was? i won't tell you what her response was, but it wasn't positive. so my question to you is, you know, if i went to, theoretically, a good university and i don't know, how can we enlighten society? because i heard from one of those leftists that you talked about who drink the kool-aid, oh this is a great country, blah blah, blah, i had no idea that as an african descendant i was actually fighting against you know, the american revolution, the cuban
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revolution, you know? i was taught by the experts that, you know, everything was cool here, and my perspective should be like thomas jefferson's perspective. you know i knew better than that, but you know. >> you're raising a sound point. obviously, what you're raising is the fact that there's a battle of ideas. and there are many battles in this country. there are battles against police brutality, there are battles in favor of better housing, there are battles in favor of adequate health care, and there's a battle of ideas that undergirds all of those other battles. and universities are part of the battle of ideas. and, you know, with all due respect to my fellow scholars as i said, i mean, you know some of them need to do some retraining.
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they need to ask different questions, they need to look at different sources. i mean, for example one of the things i found in doing this book on 1776 was that a lot of these scholars who write about colonial north america -- that is to say the pre-1776 period the period before the proclamation of the united states of america -- they really don't do research in london. i mean it's like doing research on puerto rico, say pre-1898 and not doing research in spain or doing research on puerto rico post-1998 in washington, for example. and one of the three cease i put forward in this book is about the construction of whiteness, what i call the original identity politics. but it's a militarized identity politics. that is to say that one of the ways, the many ways that the rebels against british rule are able to prevail is that they escape or they seek to escape
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from the religious cold war protestant versus catholic, and change the axis from religion to race. that is to say those defined as white against those not defined as white. and that latter project is much more capacious. that is to say that that way as you know somebody of lebanese christian descent like ralph nader could be defined as -- doesn't necessarily have to have roots in europe. it helps to curb the antagonism, english versus irish, british versus french, german versus british, russian versus pole. you cross the atlantic and magically you're transmuted into white. [laughter] and the problem is for those who are not defined as white. and so what's interesting about a lot of the scholars is they take for granted the concept of white. they don't interrogate the concept of white. they just sort of take it for
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granted and not kind of look at its construction, because part of the job of historians is to track change over time. and so you shouldn't parachute into 1776 and assume that white is something that's been around forever, because it's not. it's a recent -- duboise pointed out a recent historical construction. but once again, you know, this is a battle of ideas going on, and hopefully what we're doing here is part of that battle of ideas and push back successfully against these forces. [applause] >> um hello, dr. horne. my question is could you tie in what was going on along with the constitution at that time? because there was ideas put out for slavery to be abolished,
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but, of course, those people, they didn't succeed during their time. >> [inaudible] >> right. but during their time there was a lot going on with constitution and the basis of that was the whole issue of slavery and their wealth being, you know, in, you know, i guess subjected to being taken away. >> fortunately, there's been a lot of scholarship on this question of slavery in the constitution. david striker's book "slavery's constitution." the short answer to your question, i would focus upon the so-called three-fifths compromise. let's just say for congressional representation you know that, say, today there are approximately 435 house districts, and they're drawn on the basis of population. but what happens if you have slaves or africans, enslaved africans in your district? should you count them as a full person for purposes of congressional representation? or should you not?
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and, of course, the three-fifths compromise, it's like the idea of the camel being a horse designed by a committee. that is to say that this is what comes out of this debate, the debate between africans as human and africans as furniture. but the question of slavery and the constitution is also reflected in the ability of the slave owners to force legally and constitutionally, non-- states that don't necessarily have slavery to return that property. that is to say if an enslaved african escapes north of the mason dixon line, in fact, you probably know that the united states not only tried to enforce the rights of slave owners to get their property back from north of the mason-dixon line and doing that on the basis of alleged legality and constitutionality, but they're trying to force other countries
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like the british empire, bermuda, bahamas, canada to rush this process -- to return this property. and that becomes a point of contention. of course that leads to war in 1812, and after 1812 it leads the conflicts. so you are correct to suggest that slavery was at the heart of politics in the united states. it's reflected in the constitution. it's reflected in the fact that a disproportionate percentage of the slave owners were -- excuse me, of the u.s. presidents were slave owners and it's also reflected -- i notice this is the sort of audience that carries around pictures of presidents with them wherever they go. [laughter] and so this chap here, andrew jackson, who, of course, was not only a slave owner, was probably a slave trader. and, of course, was responsible
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for some of the most violent and vicious depredations against the indigenous population. i mean, what's interesting about the united states is like the cherokee population, people referred to as the cherokee in the state of georgia. they're willing to assimilate. they're willing to change their dress and engage in the kinds of pursuits that the euro-americans do. but that does not save them from being expelled from the state of georgia. and andrew jackson, of course is largely responsible for that. andrew jackson, of course, one of the ways he's catapulted into prominence is in the summer of 1816 when the africans in what was then spanish florida had established the negro fort which was probably the most strongly-armed encampment of africans on the north american mainland with all due respect to my friends and comrades in the black panthers. they had pop guns -- [laughter] compared to what the folks in the negro fort had. and andrew jackson was
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catapulted into prominence by destroying the negro fort. [laughter] [applause] but i'll keep the $20 for the time being. [laughter] >> [inaudible] >> oh, okay. >> dr. horne to say the least, you were extremely impressive tonight, extremely educational. i feel like you took me from kindergarten to ph.d. level in the past hour. [laughter] very impressive. but in the pantheon of our great black leaders, quintessential leaders like duboise paul robison malcolm x, didn't they threaten to take the united states before the international community in regards to genocide and racial suppression and degradation? >> i'm glad you asked that question. >> could you elaborate? [laughter] >> well, first of all, duboise, as you probably know, filed a petition circa 1946 with the nay
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shent, then newly-born united nations with regard to human rights violations against people of african descent. but perhaps the most successful, well known effort involved paul robison, approximately 1950-1951 when in league with william patterson and the civil rights congress. you may recall i wrote a book that just came out last year, "black revolutionary." and this was a very significant effort. it got tremendous amount of international support. it was i think, a turning point in our struggle against jim crow because it put the international spotlight on the united states at a time when it was parading and platting all over the world not least at the united nations, about alleged violations by other countries and the robison petition basically made the u.s. authorities seem like what they were, which is hypocrites.
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.. as he suggested hopefully not come about but future votes may suggest that a retrograde reactionary force would have a certain amount
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of potency. the way we outflank them is turn the tables on them create and make friends not least amongst those who have a bone to pick with us. thank you very much. [applauding] [applauding] >> interested in american history? watch american history television every weekend. 48 hours of people and events that help document the american story. >> next laura auricchio recounts the life of lafayette and the role he played in the american and
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french revolutions. this is about an hour. >> okay. i am absolutely delighted to wonder -- to welcome everyone here for this wonderful event to launch doctor laura auricchio new book which is right here. [applauding] "the marquis: lafayette reconsidered," which came out this month. this is being researched over the course of seven years. a major biography which dealt with his personal life and the inside of the passionate french hero several tumultuous decades. an intimate depiction of some of the towering figures of this historical time while also eliminating and exploring the new role of the press and public opinion and the politics of the time
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in the personal letters which can be found in the library of congress provide many of the board's anecdotes. and now a few words about laura auricchio, a specialist in 18th century french history and art who received her undergrad from harvard and her phd from columbia. recipient of major fellowships from the fulbright foundation, the whiting foundation, and columbia university. currently serving as the dean for the school of undergraduate studies, the knew school for public engagement for which i am extremely grateful. and before and before i close, one of the reasons why i accepted laura's kind invitation to come and open this event is she never gave me a job that i applied for. to be her driver around france visiting château's
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and castles. i thought that was a great gate and i'm still very disappointed you did not take me up on the offer. nevertheless congratulations on a wonderful book. i just love the fact that it is a heavy book. so laura please come up. [applauding] >> thank you, everybody. especially tim. as i explained that the time the the reason that the job went to somebody else was it went to a scotsman who promised to where a kilt as he drove me through and he did. and when we stopped at a truck stop at one point i was the only woman in the truck stop and he was the
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only one in a skirt. so it made for quite the same. but but thank you thank you. i am sincerely indebted for all of his support throughout my 12 years. i am also deeply grateful to the rest of the of the knew school and also today particularly to pam tillis and brandon fisher who have done a tremendous job organizing this event and the director of the graduate writing program at the knew school with whom we we will be in conversation later. i also want to take a moment to issue a few personal and professional thanks to vicki wilson my wonderful editor britney moore angela the wonderful publicist audrey silverman, the wonderful assistant to vicki wilson as
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well as my family, husband family, husband, friends and colleagues who have all turned out tonight to make a completely full house which absolutely flatters me. to let you no what we we will be doing this evening the plan is for me to read for just about 15 minutes and then i looked forward to speaking with you and with louise about the book at greater length. the book covers lafayette's entire life with lasted from 1757 to 1834 so quite a long time. and he and he lived a very tumultuous and exciting life for that reason the book focuses primarily on two large episodes of his life the two episodes that really define him during the american revolution and during the french revolution so today i am going to read again for no more than 15
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minutes from a section about the french revolution. on october 51789 alarm bells sounded through the gray peristyle great paris don as thousands of market women streamed toward. the woman known to their critics will the pikes and pitchforks as they hauled heavy cannons across the cobblestones of the plastic. when lafayette reached the scene later that morning the national guard had just managed to roust the crowd of would-be arsonist from building. the guardsmen strained to stem the fury of tide of people incensed by the soaring price of flour which left them unable to feed their families among the women were joined by husbands brothers and sons and all of them shouted for bread. they were certain that an aristocratic plot was at the root of their starvation.
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from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon lafayette refused to sanction a march to their site and forbade the guard's loyalties were beginning to waver from undertaking any such action. back-and-forth he went alternating between closed-door meetings with elected representatives of the paris commune and high decibel debates with the crowds. crowds. convinced that an attack was imminent a young lieutenant cried out my general, the king the king has fooled us all you and everyone else. he must be deposed. still lafayette refused. finally between four and 5 feet came to understand any opportunity to prevent the march had passed and as they started pulling cannons tore # in the meantime the
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weather had grown steadily worse. powerful wind had sprung up. but the crowd's determination showed no sign of lagging. after obtaining a face-saving command from the paris commune who authorized, even ordered him to transport himself he mounted his white horse and took charge of several national guard regiments. together he and his troops accompanied a a crowd of some 30000 armed and angry parisians on a seven a seven hour trek along 14 miles of dark and muddy roads. according to marie antoinette's lady in waiting news of the national guard reached for side that afternoon while the king was hunting. the queen was alone lost in painful thought and her beloved garden not far from
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the spot where lafayette's grandfather lafayette's grandfather had taken a fatal fall in 1736. the royal household leapt into action. he set out on horseback to encourage louis xv to abandon the day's hunt and return to the palace. a government minister charged with overseeing the king's household sent a letter to marie antoinette urging the royal family to depart immediately. and servants began packing bags and loading carriages so that the royal family could be whisked to safety. a few carriages carriages were already on the road when an update arrived. the first parisian women were drawing near. first i had not been designed to withstand a military attack. gates that had stood open for a century a century were pulled shut and locked. the regiment made ready to
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stand their ground. these and other preparations were in progress when louis the 15th and his entourage returned bearing new orders. the king had passed the parisian women and had been gratified to hear cries of long live the king from the crowd. reassured that reassured that he would be safe he called off the move. and worried that a show of broiled force would cause rather than prevent an escalation of violence he ordered the regiment to retire. the men dutifully obeyed, but as they made their way to their quarters they found themselves pelted with rocks when louis heard the news he began to reconsider his decision, but the moment to flee was lost. lafayette knew none of this as he made his way slowly toward riverside to meet a the fate that was uncertain
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at best. lafayette marched by compulsion guarded by his own troops. yet this was the lafayette who had managed to keep his head at baron hill as the redcoats bore down on his attachment. and now in 1789 he 89 he still possessed the composure that had served him so well in 1778. with scores of lives in his hands not only his own and his companions but the lives of the royal family, he did everything in his power to ensure a peaceful revolution. with the sound of drums lafayette halted the march around 11:00 o'clock you the national assembly of meeting hall. there he their he administered an oath to remind his troops of their allegiances. the men swore to honor the nation the law, and the king before continuing on. two officers were sent ahead
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to the château bearing assurances that lafayette came to protect the king a representative of the king appeared to inform lafayette that the king saw his approach with pleasure. happily pleasure. happily everyone was in agreement. as little bloodshed as possible. expected cries filled the air. long live the king, long, long live the nation long-lived lafayette and liberty. driven by driven by fear and desperation to float through miles of mud. leaving his troops he approached around midnight accompanied by two civilians facing him from the other side the swiss guard hesitated. wary though they were of his motives, they admitted him to the courtyard, from from their into the château up the stairs and into the
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very antechamber where he had waited when he was presented a court. on this occasion the room was filled with shouts and set of whispers. cromwell. but lafayette rejected the comparison to the british general who had helped orchestrate the execution of king charles the first. cromwell would not have entered alone. still, the accusation struck a a chord. lafayette knew all too well that with one false move instead of being a guardian he would have been a usurper as they remembered his voice filled with emotion as he explained the reasoning that compelled him to march. sire i thought it better to come here to die at the feet of your majesty than to die uselessly. louis xvi was in no position to argue. he gave lafayette free run.
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by two am some semblance of order had been established. with the king's guard maintaining calm and national guardsmen patrolling the ground marie antoinette felt secure enough to go to sleep with four ladies stationed in chairs pushed up against her bedroom door. at 430 hearing shouts and gunshots they roused her. giving the queen no time to address they hustled her through a narrow door and down the back passageway toward the kings chamber tossing a petticoat after as though the ladies reached the kings door only to find it locked. they knocked and were let in but by then louis was gone. he had taken the more public route to the queen's bedroom at the first sound of alarm. in the adjacent salon royal guards faced off against armed citizens while the queen reunited with her children and retreated to
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the bedroom. at last in exchange was reached and calm returned. daybreak found lafayette conferring with the king and queen in their apartment with the parisian troops now fraternizing with the royal guardsmen. from guardsmen. from the marble court below the clamor grew louder and more menacing. the people were calling and angry tone from marie antoinette. at first they get only lafayette. he stepped back inside and speaking again with the uneasy monarchs brokered another deal. if they came with him to paris, paris as the crowd demanded he would guarantee their safety. they agreed. with that he turns to the queen. come with me. what alone on the balcony? yes, madam. let us go. together they appeared
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before the angry crowd. crowd. lafayette resorted to a gesture that would later be cited by his enemies as a sign of doubledealing. he kissed the hand of the queen. lafayette this doubt his blessing on marie antoinette and change the hearts of the people. long live the general, long live the queen. the began preparing for the journey ahead. at approximately 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon of october 6, 1789 the royal nine the royal family set out from her sign a carriage. inside marie antoinette clutched her coffer of diamonds. outside lafayette road beside the monarch keeping pace with the coach. a hundred carriages followed behind while thousands of exhausted citizens and soldiers joined the historic journey on foot.
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it was six in the evening before lafayette reached the hotel and quite dark by the time the royal family moved in to a suite of hastily evacuated apartments which stretched along the banks just west of the louvre. there louis would live by lafayette's rules lafayette's rules and under lafayette's authority. on the morning of october 7 lafayette attended what could only have been an awkward ceremonial today. for better or for worse it seems that louis the 15th would always have lafayette at his side. the marched oversight ended so calmly was nothing short of extraordinary. the heads of two royal bodyguards had been transported to paris on pikes but large-scale carnage had been avoided, and much of the credit belongs to lafayette. his uncommon ability to think clearly under pressure
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and his unparalleled credibility with the crowd and allowed him to wrest control from a.m. that night lafayette proved to the world that he deserved his representative is -- deserved his reputation, but the future would bring challenges. thank you. [applauding] >> can we here those? zero, good. [inaudible conversations] >> as laura is fixing her microphone before the
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reading. so please write down your questions. ask them from a peer. that's great. >> i think it's working. >> excellent. >> excellent. so i was struck yet again by how detailed that part was that you read. i know that every single bit of that was researched. i wonder if you could talk us through some of that research especially the last bit when lafayette turns to the queen and says come with me to the balcony. >> sure. thank you. thank you for the question. yes. seven years years of research and you get a lot of detail. a good deal of it ends up on the proverbial cutting room floor but the trick for me and actually writing this
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book was because he did live so long and his life was so full of adventure the trick with figuring out which episodes to focus on and then trying to bring those to life as fully as i could do as much detail as i could in some cases the detail comes from newspapers or journals. in this case, that particular that particular piece of detail comes from memoirs of lafayette, lafayette, and there are actually many different accounts of that same event written by many different people. and so part of the trick also has been to sort out what seems most incredible and what doesn't. that seems to be verified by a couple of different people >> and when you are writing a book like this elements
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that you verify. >> yes. and when you're dealing with a figure like lafayette who was so beloved by so many americans and has been so much written about about what you find is in the secondary literature you find a lot of untruths or half-truths or partial truths or wishful thinking. so it becomes -- i became somewhat obsessive about trying to verify the sources for each one of these anecdotes. >> i was taken by something you put on your facebook account, a picture of a building at lafayette college. lafayette changed his motto to why not which is a nice story. i guess if you could talk a little bit about -- just
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give us the scope what scope what did life look like? he came to the united states when he was 19. and what did the rest of his life look like? >> first of all quite think it is important to think about why he came to the colonies. it is one of the things that i think i think has not necessarily been really sort of fully understood. the fact that he was 19 and the fact that he had never seen a day of battlefield action before he came. it is not as though he was an experienced general coming over to share his knowledge. he was coming to reinvent himself in the same way that many millions of americans have before and since in order to create a knew life. the fact that a marquee might want to create a knew life is something that seems somewhat surprising surprising, but it turns out that he was actually somewhat of a fish out of
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water where he was. he was he was at first sight but married into court nobility someone who came from the provinces and from a very sort of rustic family and did not have the graces that he needed to succeed and oversight. oversight. so he came here, and in america he found his second chance. and here george washington gave him an opportunity to really hone his skills as a military general. and he became a hero in america and france for his great successes here. he went back to france and as an american hero part of the story that is so interesting is in america he was beloved as a frenchman in america but in france he was always sort of seen as an american in france. so he so he sort of lived his life almost between two worlds. during the french revolution that really became apparent when he tried to chart a a
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middle course between the radical republicans on one side and the people who wanted to create an american style republican france and on the other side the people who supported an absolute monarchy and did not want to give over any power. he he was trying to chart this sort of middle path and ended up having to flee the french revolution for his life. for many years after that the french revolution starts in 1789. and he and he is involved with many many more episodes many many more political events but none of them ever really compared to his moments in the american or french revolution which are the two that really came to define his life and is very
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different legacies. >> and how did you come to lafayette as a subject? >> well, he traveled in the same circles as the artists about whom i wrote my first book. they should have. she is a wonderful painter and, in fact the metropolitan museum of art has what is probably her masterpiece a large self-portrait. she is seated behind in eagle. anyway,. anyway, she traveled during the french revolution in the same circles that wanted to reform but not abolish the french monarchy. that got me interested in this area of history because it seems to me that that middle ground has sort of dropped out of the story. we know about the reign of
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terror and marie antoinette but we don't really know that their were people in between. my particular approach in this book really was formed by my interactions with people in france. the book actually opens with my conversation with the curator at first i who has very generously devoted a portion of an afternoon to bringing me to see a bust of lafayette. of course it is not kept any place where anyone would ever actually go. it is it is in an out building, and you have to walk across courtyards. this is something he had not ever been asked to do before so we get to the room. it it is a little dusty because no one has been their in a while. i'm looking at this bust.
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on the curator says why should we have a bust of lafayette. and i thought that maybe my french was sweltering. i said part on. he said it again but louder and all those polar. and so i started to tell him why we should have a bust of lafayette. he was a hero. he was not impressed. he then gestured to a plaque that was installed a few feet away and this is a plaque that commemorated the lives of thousands of french soldiers and sailors who had died during the american revolution. he said look, thousands of men died for your revolution and you don't no their names. louis xvi bankrupted the country for the american revolution, revolution, and he received his banks on the
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guillotine. rochambeau that the french forces in america and no one knows his name. well that got me thinking. and what i started to understand was the lafayette's actions and reputation during the french revolution left him with a very different legacy their than he has here. in france as i alluded to he was seen as a double dealer the monarchist thought that he was a traitor to his class and nation because he brought a murderous crowd to his door. on the other hand the republicans small are republicans and france felt that he was too close to the monarchy. he either wanted to shore up the monarchy or perhaps
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replace it with himself. so that question of how one man who actually has very similar principles throughout his entire life could've possibly developed to such different reputations is really what motivated me to write the book as i did. >> the man who asked you a question after reading it. >> yes. thank you for mentioning that. it was the first place that i spoke two days after the book came out. and and the men in the audience came up to me afterwards. it was extremely interesting. he said i came i came here because i was in france this summer. i was in there for ten days. he said as the bus went past the eiffel tower the guide said this is vision on the marsh and this is
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where lafayette fired on the people. and he and he sort of had a. lafayette was the commander of the french national guard which due to a series of very unfortunate circumstances did in fact open fire on a group of people who were clamoring to declare the monarchy abdicated in 1791. a man who came to my lecture came to find out if that was true because it did not seem to him possible that it could be true but it is true. it is evidence, i think of the legacy that lafayette has left in france. >> it makes you look at the eiffel tower in a different
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way. >> it really was. the national guard fired on the people. >> outed your training as an art historian and form your training? >> a lot of the detail that you find his detail of what interiors look like furniture how it functioned and so forth. and i really wanted to pay attention to trying to bring to life the visual and material experience. i spent a lot of time visiting château's and really trying to capture in words and translate from the visual to the verbal .to
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capture and words and bring to life what a place looked like or felt like or what it might have been like to walk through these grand spaces. >> and some of the really exciting things. >> well, there was the dirty pictures. >> right. and the books will be for sale. [laughter] >> and that was one of the more surprising things. but in this case it was the archives. online they digitized in recent years. a large number of there manuscripts and images. and there is a fair amount
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of pornography from the era of the french revolution, politically motivated pornography. marie antoinette is the focus of much of it. not a popular character, but i did not realize that lafayette was often cast as her paramore in some of these episodes. i don't think that i can describe them because we are being taped for tv. some of them are eye-opening. >> some of this research so many small little tidbits that are so fascinating and horrifying. mother, sister, grandmother were killed.
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many moments like that. >> when you are reading about an visiting the places of the french revolution there are so many small details that when you learn about them in history classes it tends to seem like just part of the grand sweep of history but when you read them in personal narrative and you imagine what it might have been like for a woman to watch her daughter and then her mother-in-law executed before her eyes and then knowing that she herself was going to follow in that path there is so much that packs into that. in order to make the book are reasonably readable length you can't find a way to go into great depth.
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stated the fact that it would be powerful enough for what it was like to live through the terror. and that is something that we no what it's like to live with terrorism. i i guess i tried to bring some of those details to life to give a sense of what it was like then and maybe something that we can relate to now. >> one thing that comes up often in the book is the issue of money. he inherits and loses a lot of money.
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>> not my own personal money. money plays a large role and i think this is part of the american mythology. lafayette bankrupted himself for the american cause but it's actually not really true. that was entirely normal for generals in the 18th century. that is what they did. he bankrupted himself by living beyond his means. many know -- many members of the nobility did. and this is one of those things where i'm picking up tidbits. the library of congress in dc has lafayette archived. these include account books and letters. while the most interesting things to look at was his account books and
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realizing that his personal expenses for things like his barks at the opera, his hair his clothing his habit of racing carriages through france, france, through paris, destroying the axles of the carriages in the process these things were actually so over the top that we actually have a letter from the person who kept his books saying, excuse me i know that you are interested in it my eyes and but the fact is that any economy has got to start with you and you have to start tomorrow. that is the only way that you will find yourself in that happy state in which a man dies and bequeathed to his children some portion of his fortune. and the account had clearly sort of lost it with
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lafayette's expenditures. so all of this to me i share i share not because i want it all to make fun of lafayette that really to make them human. i think that is really the.of the whole book in a sense. we know him as a statue as a bust as a hero but before he was a a hero and a statue and a bust he was a man. he made mistakes. a lot of of us do. i think that understanding his humanity is important to appreciating what he did what he accomplished despite his human flaws. >> why don't -- one of the characteristics that comes up often what jefferson called his canine appetite for popularity. also you could call it enthusiasm. also very idealistic.
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when you think about a 19 -year-old that paints a clear picture. it is also his personality that is portrayed throughout his life. it gets him into trouble over the course of his life. could you talk about that a bit. >> sure. it is true. thomas jefferson did, in did in fact say that this was his greatest flaw his popular --'s appetite for popularity it was actually very important to him as it was to many people of his class. his reputation was important. and it was important not only that he make a difference in the world but that he be remembered for having made a difference in the world. and that sometimes he pursued in ways that backfired.
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but on the whole i think it was actually a pretty noble desire ultimately that fuel the. he did not want to be popular just for the sake of being popular. he wanted to to be popular because he had read the great books of greek and latin history and had learned to emulate the heroes of antiquity and he envisioned himself -- he was aware of the historic circumstances in which he lived and envisioned himself as taking the place and coming down to us through history as he did. >> and then he was also very influenced by the ideas of the enlightenment. >> yes. >> where did he get those ideas? >> it is actually interesting. he was born as i said in the rural over and you. originally he was raised on mostly an education that consisted of slightly
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overblown tales of his ancestors glory. some some of these tales turned out to be less glorious. for example, he had an uncle who died young during a war a war because he captured a soldier and put him on the back of his horse the settled behind him but neglected to confiscate the captives gone before he did that. so he was raised on these tales of military glory that he then went to paris to be educated when he came into money he was sent to paris to be educated and attended schools that were really infused with enlightenment ideals. and he was very much influenced by the same ideals that influence jefferson, washington madison monroe. he was someone who read all of the
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documents that they had read and then read their documents and went on to craft foundational documents for france, the declaration of the rights of man based on american documents and were written really in dialogue. we have copies of them. again the strange thing that you discover when you spend years reading through these things. we had documents. he he took some of jefferson's ideas and ignore others but he was very very much a man of the french enlightenment. >> that is funny. that answers the first question we have from the audience. >> excellent. well done. >> or is another. do you think your book and the research you did will change how the french think of lafayette? >> no sorry. talk about turning historical and biographical details into a narrative.
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>> is joe salvatori here? is that your question? i know my audience. say that again. >> that was one of the most. one of the most challenging but most fun parts of writing this book. as an academic, a trained art historian you are trained to care slightly less about narrative. the fact is that no one wants to read just the fact. i actually took this opportunity i was delighted to have the opportunity to actually write a book that i thought people might want to read. that i might want to read and that took all of these seemingly dry and potentially uninteresting
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details and really turned them into a rich tapestry through which you can start to understand the look and the feel of the place and through which i hope to try to help people to understand or to imagine what it might have been like to be lafayette or be one of the people in lafayette circle. but their lives are very much like ours in many ways. different, but also the same. i tried to bring those narrative details together with the goal of putting flesh on the statues. >> successfully. >> thank you. >> contemporary political figures would you compare? >> do we have any moderates left? he would be a moderate.
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a rockefeller republican. >> so no. [laughter] >> your favorite memory or episode from your experiences writing this book? >> my favorite, aside from the scotsman in the truckstop i think that my favorite moment was actually probably that which i recount at the end in an author's note in which i attempt to go and visit lafayette's grave in paris over which an american flag flies. as you might imagine based on everything that i've already said is not a big tourist attraction. it is open for a few hours a week when the custodian's home maybe.
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and so i arrived on a day or a moment when the custodian was not home. i found myself wandering aimlessly, aimlessly, and there was a chapel and i went in. and i sat down and that is actually where i found myself looking at the walls and that is where i discovered engraved in the walls in the marble the names and occupation and dates at death and orders of death of everyone who was executed on one particular site in paris and it turned out that they were all buried there. that is why lafayette is buried there. and while i was looking at this wall and really thinking of all of this unknown came in. i had this wonderful conversation with this wonderful sister with whom i spoke about this question of
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why do you think it is. and her conclusion was basically that lafayette is a complicated figure. the french revolution was a complicated time and people don't like complicated stories and people don't like to remember the french revolution in both complexities but there was something about that moment. it places a nice bookend to my experience because the book starts where i started with this conversation with the curator at first i why should we have a bust of lafayette and ended with my sort of turning the question around to a friend and saying, why don't you have a bust? and there was something about those two moments that were really sort of beautiful to me. >> the complexity of his life very well.
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the question that i had at the beginning when will slavery rear its head. and you definitely take it on. on. can you talk about that? >> sure. slavery appears, the very first appearance it makes is in 1777 when lafayette arrives in south carolina. his ship is actually lost. and they land and are actually greeted by for enslaved men who are out fishing at that moment. and so and so his very first encounter with anyone in america is actually with poor slaves. he becomes an abolitionist a very active member of the abolitionist movement. in fact he even goes so far as to attempt an experiment in gradual emancipation of slaves.
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this part really tied me up in knots, as i think it tied him up. what he did was purchase a plantation and the slaves on the plantation and he purchased them with the intention of freeing the slaves but when the french revolution came and all of his property was seized the slaves were also seized as his property so that he had purchased the plantation and the slaves intending to freedom but didn't. the complexity of that kind of moral situation i mean, i think that that takes up only a small portion of the narrative but it was probably the hardest part for me to write because it was the single most complex and morally difficult.
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>> this is a totally different topic. could you talk about lafayette's relationship with napoleon who had him liberated from austria after five years of prison? >> yeah. napoleon yeah. napoleon did have lafayette liberated but only under extreme pressure from international government and from popular opinion around the world. what i actually think you got lafayette liberated was his wife who was very very clever. and when lafayette was imprisoned at a certain.once it became apparent that his wife was going to be able to survive the revolution, she took herself and her two daughters to the door of the present in austria and said to the austrian authorities if you're going to keep my
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husband, you are going to have to keep us to. a n but it became a cause throughout the world that the austrians were keeping three innocent women in prison. and it became a story that circulated in images and poems debated on the floor of the house of parliament in england and it really placed pressure on napoleon to do something about getting lafayette out. out. that said napoleon had no love lost for lafayette. he actually brokered a deal with lafayette's wife in 1799 in which he said okay he can come back but he can't come anywhere near paris. he has to stay at a distance of some 35 miles around paris because napoleon did not want to have a rival general around making trouble. so for 15 years during the napoleonic era lafayette
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really lived a a life of tremendous retirement. he created his own farm at his wife's family estate and really, i think, try to re-create their george washington's mount vernon. so he created a farm that was an experimental farm, it was a place for agricultural improvement and he saw this as a way of contributing to the betterment of finch peasantry by helping them to experiment with and learn about new and better ways of growing and harvesting their crops. so yes. napoleon was really not a fan. >> i love the kids names. another one for jeannie.
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>> those are the only two born after the american episode. there is a great quote from benjamin franklin. benjamin franklin lived in paris at the same time. they were quite friendly. and benjamin franklin when he heard lafayette had named his daughter virginia, franklin wrote to him. and it got it into the papers that he wrote a letter to lafayette saying that he hoped that he and mrs. lafayette would have 13 children so they could name one for each of the colonies but he also said that he did feel sorry for ms. miss connecticut. might have have to go life with a rather difficult name. >> so to go back do you
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think that america would have lost the revolutionary war without them? >> yes why? >> well they certainly -- the americans, i believe we won the revolutionary war and large part thanks to french support, both naval and ground support from france. that french support before lafayette the french government had, in fact been quietly sending guns and ammunition and a few engineers here and there to the american side but france did not want to come out in favor of the americans because they wanted to maintain the appearance of neutrality with great britain. they had just ended the seven years war war and they wanted to maintain an appearance of neutrality. so they did not at all want to come out publicly in
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support of the americans. when lafayette left france he did so with quite the it made quite a splash. he made it impossible for the french government to look the other way anymore or to pretend that they were not supporting. he forced the french government out into the open >> to finish things off off, what is your favorite story about lafayette? >> my favorite story there are so many good ones. probably the one involving the great. these dogs. during this time when he was inactive in french politics and even a little bit after that he kept in constant
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contact with americans and was constantly exchanging things with americans. exchanging animals, exchanging plants exchanging innovations in technology. my favorite letter that i have ever come across was from the baltimore farmer who says i have just received from the general lafayette for puppies of enormous size from the purity's region of france. and as a dog lover i love the image of lafayette. i think that is my favorite. >> thank you so much. there are books for sale. this sale. this is a great book. you must buy it and read it. you will no so much more. thank you. >> thank you. thank you everybody. [applauding]
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>> c-span2 providing live coverage of the u.s. senate floor proceedings and key public policy events. .. over the week that the miami book fair is held. joining us now on our outdoor set is harvard professor randall kennedy, a frequent guest on booktv and on c-span.
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his most recent book which came out last year which is talking about, "for discrimination: race, affirmative action, and the law" professor kennedy, has a affirmative action been successful in this country? >> i think it's been very successful over the past several decades. it has helped with the desegregation of american life, particularly in higher education and in employment. and i think that it has done a very good job in a variety of ways. it is help to rectify past injustice. it is help to bring into important discussions, people have been excluded and, therefore, enriched or public debate and our learning in various schools. so i think it has been a success.
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that's certain what our gym about. >> host: where did you come up with the title? >> guest: it was the last thing that was part of this project. i did not have a working title. the book at to be published. i needed a title. and actually the person who came up with the title was my editor. i had come up with a couple of titles. they were pretty flat. he came up with and he said what about for discrimination? usually people use the word discrimination it is a bad thing, but it grew on me and i've come to like it. >> host: is their stigma attached to affirmative action? >> guest: yes. affirmative action with many social policies house costs and certain one cost of affirmative action is the idea that its beneficiaries or people who come even if they're not beneficiaries, if you thought to be beneficiaries, i think many people think that well
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so-and-so is a beneficiary of affirmative action. they probably are a little less good than people who did not have affirmative action. because affirmative action means giving people a helping hand a boost. if you need a helping hand, if you need a boost, that suggest maybe are not as good as others. so yes there is a stigma cost. >> host: randall kennedy harvard law is our guest for the next half hour or so. it would like to call into talk to him about some issues we started talking about, (202)585-3890. (282)585-3891. dial in and we'll get your calls as quickly as possible. professor, are you a recipient of affirmative action? >> guest: yes. i am an affirmative action baby. i was told by affirmative action in terms of my education.
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one doesn't know for sure but i feel virtually certain that affirmative action helped enable me to go to yale law school. i think that affirmative action will likely help me secure a job at harvard law school. i was a very fine student. i've been very hard-working. i think that i think that my record speaks for itself and that i've been able to be a real contributor to legal academia. but have i been helped like so many other african-americans over the past 30 years in elite institutions? have i've been helped by affirmative action? yes. >> host: wended affirmative action begin? >> guest: , it all depends on
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how you define a affirmative action. for instance, i mean there is a way of saying affirmative action has been part of american life since the civil war. the nation's first federal civil rights statute civil rights act of 1866 was vetoed by the president of the united states andrew johnson the successor to abraham lincoln. and andrew johnson vetoed the civil rights act of 1866 because he said it would give quote discriminating texture and textured african-americans. he thought he was giving an illicit, i'm just helping hand to african-americans because it allowed african-americans to be citizens of the united states immediately. he thought that was a sort of illicit reverse discrimination. he thought it was reverse
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discrimination for federal law to say that african-americans in fact all people, had to have the same rights to enter into contracts and own property on the same basis as white people. he viewed that as a type of quote of affirmative action. people nowadays don't view that as affirmative action. they view that as anti-discrimination law. the affirmative action we're used to, the affirmative action i mainly talk about in my book mainly came about in the late 1960s and early 1970s. the reason why it came about is because of a widespread feeling that anti-discrimination laws alone would not be enough to quickly desegregate american life. >> host: what about court cases? >> guest: there have been many court cases and will there will be many more. just this past week and anti-affirmative action organization filed a court case
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against my university, harvard university, asserting that harvard university was discriminating against asian americans in particular. there was a court case filed by the university of north carolina claiming that their asian americans and whites were being discriminated against. so affirmative action, it's been controversial since the late 1960s and remains controversial to they. >> host: what was the pocky taste? >> guest: it was the first time that the supreme court of the united states fully grappled with affirmative action. it was the early 70s. in fact, it was 1975 or 1976 as i recall. what happens in that case was it was a class of compromise. it was a case that involved are from an action at the university of california-davis medical school. this medical school set aside a
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certain number of places, i think it was 16 places, for disadvantaged minority, racial minorities. what the supreme court said was that it was unconstitutional for a public institution of higher education to set aside a certain number of places. they said that is to quota like so they struck that down. the supreme court also said that universities could take race into account along with other things in determining who they were going to admit to these educational institutions. by the way that was a very interesting case because it really came down to just one justice. it was a split case and one justice, lewis powell was this one justice who said that you cannot have quotas but you can
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take race into account as one of many factors. and by the way, that's the law of bakke is still the reigning law of the supreme court. it might change a bakke still holds. >> host: do we have an active what happened to alan bakke country yes, we do. he went to medical school and he's become a doctor. from what i can tell he has led a painful, productive life. >> host: al franken to be in discussions about race and the law with your students at harvard? >> guest: i am very frank. -- how frank lex in all of my books i have attempted to be frank. i take my position. i take my position. i argue my position strongly. i am pro-affirmative action, for instance. but in my book i also talk about the costs. in fact, so my friends give a
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little -- get a little bit miffed with me because they think a give away too much. they think maybe i talk about the cost too much but i think people are smart. i don't think it's useful to try to hide the ball. i take a position. i believe information is my friend. i want people who have information. i want people to have all the argument. i think when people of all the arguments, they will when armed with all the arguments, embrace my position. i am like that in class. i am like that when i write. >> host: uk met with a book a couple years ago the n-word. what was the reaction to that? >> guest: the name of the book was strange career troublesome
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career. it is a book that sold more copies to all of my other books combined. i got a lot of criticism from that book turn one from african-americans whites, liberals conservatives tried to liberals concerns, white, blacks asian-americans. there were people, i don't want to make it seem like everybody who disliked the book. there were people who liked the book but it did get a lot of criticism. i figure a number of people who did not like the title for instance. didn't like the fact i spell out the word. and they didn't like some of the positions i took but there again i thought, you know, i said what i believed and i put all the arguments out there. a person -- is one thing i do when i write my book. i want to arm a person who disagrees with me.
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i want wanted person who disagrees with me to read my book and see all of his or her arguments. so nobody can read a book of mine and say well, kennedy didn't bring up this argument against this position. i bring up all the arguments. >> host: the "washington post" did a series on the n-word. >> guest: i saw that. >> host: hasn't been destigmatize in a sense? >> guest: that's a good argument because there are some people who say that one way of dealing with this word is to make a big deal of it. don't make a big deal of it people just use it, let it roll off your back. it will lose its status and difference lose its status able to some of its attraction and it would lose its ability to hurt. america is so large that i think it's taboo in certain circles for instance, you will never
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hear any politician using this word under any circumstances. if you had a serious politician on our show right now, they would not repeat the name of my book. they would not even repeated. they would not even say quote this guy randall kennedy wrote a book called -- for you to say that word is to discredit yourself. if we go to other realms, if we're talking about comedy, popular culture, people do use the word. so it's a word that is complicated you can use it in some forms, but even in those the forms you take a risk. i think that's as it should be frankly. i think the n-word is a word that has been used and it is still used to hurt people. i think whenever you use that word, you should be using it
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advisedly. you should be in a sense you should be using this word in full recognition that a lot of people find it hurtful. >> host: randall kennedy harvard law is our guest your body and rock island illinois, you are the first caller. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i do want to make the comment discrimination does not only include race and religion but also life experiences. there is a great need for educators who are we tired to dedicate themselves to volunteer to educate those incarcerated with the basics of reading and math. those who have been incarcerated are, even after release, discriminated for the rest of their lives. and i wanted to ask mr. kennedy what his thoughts were on that? i will take my answer off the call.
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>> guest: i think you make an excellent point, the fact of the matter is that the united states of america incarcerates a large percentage of its population than any advance industrialized democracy. that is a shame. it is a disgrace. it is really an open scandal. and we need to do something about that. i would totally embrace the comment that we need you as much as we can first of all to change our policies we don't incarcerate so many people. and secondly for those people have been incarcerated i think we do over stigmatize them. we do hurt their ability to come out of prison and get on with the gainful, productive life. i wholeheartedly embrace the sentiment of that collect. >> host: gelled in florida.
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>> caller: goo a question for professor kennedy. some of us look towards affirmative action us to blacks entering university circuit. i happened to be one who graduated from a major university, white major university in the state of ohio. this was before affirmative action. far too many times there is nothing said about those of us who were participants in the collegiate atmosphere, collegiate i guess academia, that existed before affirmative action. what is his position? what is his position on some of us? >> host: joe tell us your experience. what you're did you graduate? where did you go to school?
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what was it like for you? >> caller: i graduated in 1959 from kent state university and the makeup of the school at that time, i guess it was probably around 7000 students which there was no more than a maximum at best 100 minority afro-american students from ohio and the surrounding area. state rather. but the experience was one of high, a highly competitive environment, that there was no assistance provided to us with respect to holding hands and what you might call a mentor. but we were there just to survive, of which we did. so i was wondering what his take would be on that kind of situation that prevailed before affirmative action and in a
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totally white environment? >> guest: it's a wonderful comment. of course, it's true that african-americans and other racial minorities attended predominantly white institutions before the onset of affirmative action. they did a much smaller numbers however, as the caller indicated. one of the things affirmative-action did in the late '60s, the early '70s, was too great larger cadres of racial minorities at these predominantly white institutions. and with the idea of being in mind, again that the desegregation of american life was simply proceeding too slowly under the old rules, the old regime. as for these circumstances of racial minorities before the
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advent of affirmative action, i would agree. that history does need to be more known. i think there are good aspects and bad aspects to it. there are plenty of instances plenty of stories of african-americans and other racial minorities who are predominantly white institutions who did not have the benefit of affirmative action and created wonderful careers for themselves, and what they were able to achieve needs to be saluted. i don't think -- i think one can say that and also say at the same time, however, that what has occurred over the past several decades has been good. that larger numbers of racial minorities at these institutions has been good but only for themselves but for the country as a whole. >> host: the n-word, ma the persistence of the color line other books written by professor
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randall kennedy. is the cover of "for discrimination: race, affirmative action, and the law." tonia, san diego, good morning to you. you were on with professor randall kennedy. >> caller: good morning. it's an honor to speak to you. i was wondering what you think the president and gym has ignored the fact that the main beneficiary of affirmative action franklin has been white women? or it's always a very interesting experience when my coworkers realize they are the main beneficiaries of affirmative action. >> host: tonya, do you favor affirmative action laws? >> caller: idea but i just wish people were more educated on the fact that a lot of people who are getting the benefits of it do not say that they're getting the benefits of it, and
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many of them don't even know that because, in my job environment i would say that publicly seven of the 40 people definitely were helped because they were white women, because they're not as even qualified as some of the black men who try to get the same job. >> host: thank you, ma'am trend to i think the caller makes an excellent point. the fact of the matter is that in american lives there and many groups who get all sorts of benefits, sometimes informally sometimes formally. clearly women. what about all these people who get benefits because their parents happen to go to a particular university legacies for instance? what about the benefits that athletes get -- as far as i'm concerned there are probably good reasons for aiding all of these there is a groups. shouldn't be, nobody should be under the delusion that it's
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only racial minorities that get there is benefits. farmers get benefits. people increased benefits -- regions get benefits. what about the fact that public institutions there's a tremendous benefit given to same state students as those out of state students? that's a preference but there's all sorts of preferences, so long as preferences have a good, sensible basis, as far as i'm concerned they should be allowed. after all, racial affirmative action is nowhere except as a remedy for judicial impose remedy, outside of that. affirmative action is something that politicians permit. racial affirmative action is permissive. it's not required. and so if people commit it and it's usually the majority that is committing it in any event, it seems to me it should be a
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loud. if the majority of people in a particular state don't want to have a for instance, the people of california got rid of racial affirmative action. the people in michigan got rid of racial affirmative action but if they want to get rid of it they can. but if people want to have it seems they they should be able to have it. there is good reason to have it as i argue in my book. >> host: diego, colorado. diego, i'm going -- will have to let that go. i apologize. that connection is not working so we will move on to lynn in parkersburg pennsylvania. randall kennedy is our guest on booktv. >> caller: hello, doctor kennedy. as one involved with discrimination and education, are you aware of anyone looking into the fact that all higher, from what i experienced, higher
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education, when you are accepted as astute it is not a contractual agreement? you can complete all requirements for a degree. the entire syllabus with a 4.0 average, have paid all your tuition, perhaps with government grants. and they can choose whether they feel like giving you your diploma or not. you may not get your diploma. you have no legal recourse. it was not a contractual agreement. so that students have no anti-discrimination protection for graduation and getting a diploma. therefore, they can't -- >> host: why do you ask that question? >> caller: because it happened to me. i could not go out and get a job
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in my field. and pay back my government loans. so that all these pop-up -- i would deliver a prominent university in philadelphia for a masters to become a teacher for a second career. and, you know, old white women are not -- >> host: all right. thank you. randall kennedy? >> guest: i'm really sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation. i must say though that i don't think that you're correct in saying that a student who goes to an institution is without recourse if that institution arbitrarily with holds a diploma. in fact, i think that any student who goes to a public or a private institution in fact does have a contractual relationship with the institution. and if this institution acts
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arbitrarily i think that they are in breach of contract and are also probably in breach of a whole set of state and federal laws. so if you have been treated arbitrarily by that institution, i would suggest that you consult with a lawyer because i think he would, in fact have recourse. >> host: professor kennedy because of the nature of your books do you get a lot of people get a lot of people the daily news contacting you this happened to me type cases? >> guest: i do. with all of my books, i've gotten lots of e-mails. and, frankly one of the things that's most gratifying about writing my books is that it does trigger telephone calls. it triggers e-mails. it triggers letters. obviously, i'm in no position to help out everyone, but i would say a couple times a year that
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or people who get in touch with me, or their lawyers get in touch with me and i've been able to assist people. and i'm very happy about that. >> host: were you surprised by what happened to your colleague henry louis gates? >> guest: do you mean the instance where henry louis gates was restless police officer? yes, i was surprised by that. frankly, here you have this very esteemed, very famous law excuse me university professor at harvard who was arrested in his own house after proving that it is his own house. this was an instance of reality outdoing anybody's imagination. i mean i wouldn't have thought that up for law school hypothetical. so i was a bit surprised by it but, of course what happened you know, a little bit of an
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insight about the problems and that african-americans at every level. he is at the very elite level. he went to the station house in handcuffs. you know, nothing ultimately have happened to them. the charges were dropped, but what about a younger person, let's say, who did not have the resources that he had, a younger person who did not have the resources maybe to become a person who might have gotten angry and might of lashed out at the police officer? that sort of case turns out not to be a case where the person is just at the station house for a matter of hours. that is the sort of case that ends up with somebody badly hurt or killed. so the henry louis gates episode was a very sobering episode. ..
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we are listening. please go ahead. >> caller: hello, can you hear me? >> host: we can hear you. >> caller: hello? >> host: you are not getting the concept of this. lets loose ball. lesotho valley stream, new york. >> caller: my comment is simply this. and herein and not having an opportunity to read the book, i
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thought how wonderful it is that this has taken place in this country because it solidifies the heart and soul of what we call integrity. the country itself is about integrity. >> host: professor if somebody was to pick up on airboats, which one would you recommend today? >> guest: the one i had the most fun riding, the book i spent the most time writing come of the book called interracial intimacy. sex i'm a marriage, adoption and identity. it was a book about the way in which the system has regulated
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over the course of american history. that was my favorite book. the trouble with the book is it is long. it's about 600 pages. as i was redoing that book now iowa's split it into two books. you have to be a rather colluded greater rather colluded greater to read that entire volume. but for me that was the book that i think has been the best that i've read. >> host: wife? it is off your beaten path of law professor isn't it? >> guest: no no it is full of law. that regulated interracial sex in interracial marriage. and the last of the jim crow laws was the law that prohibited across the


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