tv Doris Kearns Goodwin Leadership in Turbulent Times CSPAN November 10, 2018 3:25am-4:33am EST
[applause] >> good after l. >> good afternoon, on behalf of the library 0 congress we would like to express our deep gratitude to aarp for making this presentation possible. they're a long supporter of the library roz educational initiative and we arer grateful for that. it's now my honor to introduce
the cochairman of the national book festival, a champion of reading and literacy, david rubenstein. >> thank you. we're very honored to have one of our country's for most historians and write erred, biology gaffers here, doris kearns goodwin. thank you for coming. how many people here have read "team of rivals"? "bull in pulpit?" book on lyndon johnson, what about the kennedys and fitzgeralds? okay. and how many people here agree that she's one of for most writers and historians. [cheers and applause] >> for those who don't know her brown, just very briefly, grew up in, new york, black lynn, and
win to colby college, got her ph.d in harvard, white house fellow in the johnson administration, helped president johnson with his memoirs and then ultimately went back to teach at harvard and for the last number of years has been writing extraordinarily well received and terrific biographers and histories, and win ore the pulitzer prize for a become. so, you're going to be writing a new book coming out september 18th. it's on leadership. and it's about a book on the leadership skills of four people you have within pout. one is abraham lincoln, one is teddy roosevelt, one is franklin roosevelt and the other is lyndon johnson i want to ask you first, why did you decide to write a book about four different anymore you have already written books about them. why not pick somebody new. >> guest: what happens is each time i'd finish writing one of the becomes, and i have to take all of that person's books
otherwise of my study to make room for the next guy. felt like i was pea traying the person who was there before and it's like having an old boyfriend and moving to a new boyfriend. so, i figured what if i could keep my guys together this time instead of doing that? i knew i'd have to do it by having a chance to look at them anew in a new way, and i've always been interested in leadership. once upon a time when i was graduate student we would stay up late at night discussing questions but leadership. you're adding plato and aristotle and thinking whether where does ambition come from and does the man make the time order the times make the man,ings leadership traits been or made. and we also talk but boys and girls but those are the kind of things that interested us. so i decide little what if can -- i call them my guys. seems maybe at disrespectful but i have lived with them so long that i feel familiar to them. what if i take them and look at them through the exclusive lens of leadership, and so it became a great project for me. took five years, not as long as
some of the others but nose shooter asking thought pause i didn't know as much about them is a thought i should and i loved every minute. it's been a great -- >> host: the only one of these presidents that you actually knew, of course, wasline don johnson, and -- lyndon johnson, you might relate how you actually came to know lyndon johnson and how you almost lost your job on an article you wrote. >> guest: true. when i was chosen as a white house fellow i was 24 years old and we had a big dance, a fabulous program, the white house fell -- colin pawing, leslie clark, we had a big dance at the white house and he danced with me that night. not that peculiar, only three win out of the 16 white house fellows put he whispered he wented me to be assigned directly to him any house but that not a simple. in the months leading up to my selection, like many young people, was a graduate student in harvard i had been active in the anti-vietnam war movement and had written an article
against lbj and came out two days the dance in the white house, and the title of the article was how to remove lyndon johnson from power. so i was certain he would kick me out of the program. but surprisingly he said bring her down here for a year if i can't win her over, no one can so i worked for him at the white house and i was the most extraordinary experience, the more formidable, interesting, streaming, brilliant, colorful character i've ever met and what a privilege to have spent so many hours with this aging line of a map. i'd like to think the empathy i had for him without my feelings busy vietnam is what i hoped to carry over, and might not have been a presidential historian had it not been for lyndon johnson. >> host: let's talk about each president. what you have done in your book is each of the four presidents and there are the parts to each
description of the book -- of the presidents. one is how they were educated and grew up some whether they were kind of destined for greatness or not. second, what was the problem in their life that depressed them, maybe thought they were not going anywhere in life and they were even suicidal at points, and erred third what challenge the mets president that showed hey had great leadership skills. lincoln first. drew up not a wealthy family. his father tried to educate him. what was it like growing up as the son of mr. lincoln. >> guest: the circumstances that lincoln grew up in took enormous perseverance and determines to overcome. it was subscription school in illinois then so the only way to go to school was to pay a certain amount, so he never went to past the age of nine or ten in school because the family not only couldn't afford it but the father thought it was waste of time for somebody to educate themselves when he should be work neglect fields. so meant that lincoln had to scour the countryside for books
and get everything he could lay his hands on. at one point he walked 16 miles to get a certain book that he wanted to have. and in a certain sense books became much more important to him as a result of that. it was said when he got a copy of the king james' byele of shakespeare play they was so excited he couldn't eat or sleep and there was a sense in which books carried him to places he could never go through books he began to develop an alternative thought for what he might be in life. he was really smart and those few years when he was in school he was without peer and i think that's where some of this confidence came from. after a while he was teaching the other kids in this class rather than the teacher because he learned so much. but in a certain sense once he started reading but other people and other places he began to think, maybe i can have another life other than shucking corn or splitting rails, and he had to get away flown father who when he would see him reading would destroy his book. so he finally left the home. you couldn't leave until you
were 21 and he finally left and went to new salem and that's where heir political career began leadership ran for office after being there only six months and writes this amazing, amazing hand bill that he gives out to the people explaining why he is running and said every man who is 23 years old, feather hand pad his peck already ambition. minimum is to be esteemed by my fellow man to do something worthy, to get their esteem stocker think that why win you're 23 and young and unknown to many of you and if you don't put me in office i wont be disappointed that much because i've head so much disappointment in the life but if you die promise i will do everything to pay you back. then he said -- if i don't win this time, i'm going to try five or six more times until it's too embarrassing and too humiliating and then i'll never try again. he didn't within the first time but didn't dampen his ambition. the second time he tried he met more people. they had seen the kind of person
he was, the kindness, the hughity, the story-telling ability and he wins the next election and that's the beginning of this extraordinary political. >> host: career. >> host: is there a reason to think that maybe not going to school enables you to be great write center he wrote the gettysburg address without being educate? he had a gift for in the rhythm of language. maybe you're born with that. more importantly maybe he read great books. he was not spending his time reading a lot of horizontal books just radding thing like the bible, great poetry and shakespeare, and dived so deeply into them and said whenever he read something he really loved he wanted to readded it aloud and would take his knife, if he was on a plank where he was working on a rail, and would write out the words on a rail
and then transfer them to paper and memorize them and became part of him. i was vertical learning was deeper -- than reading wise things andening hardly remember them he read the best. >> host: ran for office and got elected state and served two years in congress and a competent lawyer but there were a lot of competent lawyers and people work in congress. anybody who said this man is destines for greatness? >> guest: theodore roosevelt once wrote something but the importance of a cries making a lead are great, and he said if lincoln had not had a war, no one would have known his name. but he is wrong. because all the people who had seen him from the time he was young, even he had never become president, they knew they were in the prepares of somebody special. the saw how much he was trying to learn. they wanted to help him on his
upward climb. thaw would lend him becomes. the guy who was the village cooper would keep his fire on late at night so lincoln could read because that what's one place where there would be lightment they watched him help people who needed something done for them. they saw his sense of humor, even as a young kid he learned how to tell stories. used to listen to this father entertain people who came by the street andtle story. the father had the one thing he valued which was being a great story-teller and lincoln became a fabulous story-teller and had a sense of humor that matched his mel lan -- melancholy. he thought he would never reach his goal but he whistled through sadness with his humor. they knew he would become president i doubt they could have thought that big but there was something about this guy. >> host: late talk about teddy roosevelt. did not grow up in a poor setting. his father was very wealthy but did that mean he would be
necessarily a very smart person or very good athlete? what was it like growing up as teddy roosevelt. >> guest: the most important thing for teddy roosevelt growing up was that he suffered from an almost life-threatening asthma when he was a child which meant he couldn't participate in physical activities but meant that he developed his mind. he read books, too like lincoln did in every spare moment he could fine. unlike lincoln all he needed to do is pull a book of the library shelf or told his father, who he loved and had a fabulous relationship with and he said he wanted a book it and magically disappear. the read 50 novels one summer and his father took him on trips around the world himself father was like a tutor and evenly that sense of reading became a huge part of him. he said that books were the greatest companion that a leader needs to know about human nature more anything net world and the best way to learn about human
nature is through books. for him, too, books created an alternative future but a here's theirs little kid who wants to be fearless person and he is very timid and he's got this asthma, so he reads about explorers in africa, about soldiers, he reads about deer slayers and begins to imagine himself one of those and later becomes a strenuous guy because hi father said to hemorrhage teddy you have the mind but not in the body and without the body, the mind cannot go as far as it should boulevard u must do something to make your body. so he said i'll macmy body and went into strenuous exercisers and becomes a champion and a very strong person by the time he gets to be past harvard and into the presidency. >> host: so he goes harvard. is well-respect thread. >> guest: an odd duck at harvard but a he wants to be an ornithologist and collects dead
birds and their na this room and when he first comps he is kind of a prig. the is also different from the other kid. speak numbers class, interrupts the professor. those were the times when you just were a b student and that's what you were supposed to do but he worked hard and did very well. the interesting this once the gets out of harvard heeds up at the age of 23 running for the state legislature because, again, somebody comes to him and says, maybe you'd be a good candidate because your father had been well-known. a philanthropist, his father. and once he started going around, leading people from the working class, meeting people in the other part of he district -- he's in the silk stocking district and there's also tenements in this district but he began to feel at ease with them and he lost that sense of privilege the had before. he became a natural politician. >> host: so, he is in this state legislature but kind of full of himself a bit, doesn't make as many friends as he might want.
did anybody say this man is very smart, good athlete and he's going to be profit the united states. >> well, what happens to him is you're absolutely right. when he was first in the state legislature he developed what he admit was a swelled head. a great way of language. so he could make headlines in everything. he would pound his desk and say outrageous things and back well-known in new york but after a while he couldn't get anything done because he had burned so many bridges. so he finally realized this where is humility came in. an important quality in all my guys, when they finally develop humility which means the able to recognize your limitations, to acknowledge your mistakes help realized he couldn't fix it alone -- didn't say it that way him said i can't do it alone. i need cooperation of other people. and then he became a more mature politician. people knew he was special. whether they could predict at that point that he would be a president, i don't know but they knew they were in the presence of somebody with charisma, with
energy, somebody with quite a lot of brilliance. >> host: so, he is related to fdr how? >> guest: he's like a sixth cousin to fdr but moe importantly, teddy roosevelt's brother, elliott roosevelt, was the father of eleanor roosevelt. so that's what is the real connection. so eleanor's uncle is teddy and her father, elliott, teddy's younger brother, had an epilepsy as a child, became an alcoholic died young, so teddy roosevelt became like a father to eleanor, but in franklin loved teddy roosevelt. so, all three of. the become this wonderful circumstancal fdr grows up in a wealthy setting. the only child of his father's marriage with his mother. but it's buie alcoholic setting in -- bucolic setting in hyde park but nick thought he would be president of the united states. >> guest: certainly not fdr. teddy roosevelt and fdr were the
center of their parent's love which gave them a certain confidence. with teddy roosevelt he was not only the sir of miss father's and mother's love but the other siblings made him he story of the life because he would tell their stories and they would sit around and he would organize their games. and so to fdr was the center otherwise his parents' life. in fact teddy so wanted to be the center of everybody's life that his daughter said he wanted to be the baby at the baptism, the bride at the wedding and the corpse at the funeral. so, fdr had that same sense, i think, of being adored as a child but he -- and he had any book the he wanted. he learned in a different way. liked to read aloud. liked to listen to his mother read. that's a stories one time when hit mother was reading to him and he is playing with his stamp collection he loved to check --
collect thinks and his mother said you're not listening to me. and then he recited back the whole passages of what he said. he said i'd be ashamed of myself if i couldn't do two things at the same time. but because he was not a regular student, he became a c student at gotten, at harvard, columbia, people thought the wasn't as mart as he was. in fact the famous quote where oliver wendall holme saturday he has a first rate at the of tempererment but a second rate temper appointment. he was right about the temperment was the greatest gift that was endowed with but he was much smarter than people knew help had a problem solving intel electric. he is a little kid now and wants to know where at the country that issued the stamp came from so would look in the ensign lowpedia and then figure out if he didn't know the words he said to his mother, i'm halfway through webster's dictionary he studied math and at that hases s
and read about mountain and the environment and that became so personality when the had to lead uses through world war ii, when he becomes a leader later on he has a brain trust he can bring information out from the other people by listening to them. so the idea that he wasn't smart because he didn't do well in school is something we make terrible mistake about. >> host: lyndon johnson is sort of in between al of. the. no pure but not rich. he is not a book learner but he is pretty smart. so how do you describe his background and his father's relationship with him. >> guest: the most interesting thing is that what i learned which i hadn't known all that much before is that when he was two years old he learned the alphabet. at four he learned to read and he could recite long passages of tennyson and longfellow because he mother wanted him to bev that kind of kid. the mother was college educated. wanted to be a writer. she had met her husband, when he
interviewed him and so this mother really -- he said when he would recite these passages she would hug him so much, she was so proud of him that he felt like he would be smothered to death. ... >> he had wine and cheese, automatic trappings. he said more than any other woman i've known, my heart sank. then he says, you remind me of my mother. [laughter] it was pretty embarrassing given what was going on in my mind but i guess somehow i was at harold and i was an intellectual.
even though he had those talents when he was young, all he wanted was to follow his father. after a while, he only wants to read books. he would say, is it real? is it someone in history? he wanted to go with his father on the campaign trail. he wants to go to the state legislature and politics became his love. the father and mother never got along very well so she's in one of the other was complicated. because he never did well in school, because he was to restless to sit. even though he had that extraordinary mind, he always felt he would never be appreciated by harvard. his father said if you brush up against the dry stone of life, you'll have more polished than any of those harvard and yale people did. is that i always wanted to believe him but i never could. even when i was first starting to work for him and he wanted me to work full-time for him as i couldn't, i was going back to
harvard to start teaching. he said all are nothing. so i thought i wasn't going to go. the last day of his presidency he said, all right, part-time. he said it's not so easy to get people to work for you when you're no longer at the height of their power. is that i won't forget what you're doing for me. is a don't let those harvard's get to you. don't let them make you hate me. always that feeling for the larger world he could have been a part. >> as a young man, that people think was father was a state legislator, not a wealthy or particularly educated, that he would be president of the united states? is that a dream for lyndon johnson? >> yes. once he gets into politics, is an absolute natural. when he was young, he was the real new deal congressman did he wanted to do for people what would help people. he meets fdr for the first time
when he was president. he is a real ãi was about to say something i can't say on television. he was a natural storyteller point he could make up things, let us say it that way. [laughter] >> he knows fdr is going fishing. he knows nothing about fishing and he starts talking to how much he loves fishing. they get along terrifically. fdr tells somebody, i just met this amazing young congressman. he's the kind of uninhabited pro- i would have been had i not gone to harvard. i think someday he may be the first - - president of the united states. >> let's talk about the depression crises that each of these men experienced. earlier in their career and lives. abraham lincoln gets to the point where he's almost suicidal. they were so afraid he may commit suicide, they took away razor blades and so forth. what were the things that
caused this enormous depression? >> what happened to lincoln as he broke his word to his constituents and mary when he asked her to enter your engagement. for him, his word meant everything. he promised his constituents that he would bring infrastructure projects into their area so they can get their goods to market. stretching the harbor, making roads. and then a huge recession hit the state and theyhad to to sto the project midway. he was blamed. he took responsibility for it and said he would leave the state legislature. at the same time, he broke his engagement with mary. not sure if he could support a wife. but he knew what it meant to hurt to be humiliated. the fact he heard these people, that he hurt his constituents was so painful that he went into a suicidal depression. he stayed in his room for weeks. his friends came and as you say, took away all knives and
scissors from his room. his best friends at lincoln, you must rally or you will die. he said i know that. i would just do some dive right now that i've not yet accomplished anything to make any human being the member that i've lived. field by that were the ambition, always from the beginning he had this double ambition. not just for himself or doing something large and that. he will finish out the legislature and then he loses twice for the senate. and yet, instead of the undoing his ambition, he says we've made a mark on its enduring problem of the age. slavery. he has this debate with stephen douglas. and he still losing twice is willing to try for the presidency and the rest as they say is history. >> so he was engaged to her and he broke off the relationship and why did he decide to go back? you might talk about his earlier girlfriend who died. >> the hardest thing for
lincoln was that death surrounded him. his mom died when he was only nine years old point his only sister died in childbirth. the hard thing was when his mother died, she didn't say we will be in another world. she simply said abraham i'm going away from you and i shall never return. that's when he began to be assessed with what happens to us after we die. when hebegan to think , if i can only accomplish something bitter maybe somebody will remember me after i die and they will still be telling the story of me. it was true i think of people who studied this more and more. when he first met mary, i think he really did care greatly for her. she loved poetry, drama, she came from an educated, wealthy family. she was one of the few people at the time that left politics. she'd come to live with hersist in springfield and she was married to the then governor.
when he first asked her to dance she said mary i want to dance with you in the worst way point after they finished the dance, she said, you certainly did. >> by coincidence, who was the other suitor to marry mary? >> stephen douglas. that's what was so amazing. it was a small circle of these politicians. >> dating someone who was six foot four and someone was four foot six. >> she'd have to stretch or go back down. >> let's talk about teddy roosevelt. he has an experience like that no one wants to go through on one day that put him into a depression. >> he's in the state legislature and his wife alice, who he dearly loved. he fell in love with her at harvard. she was a beautiful young woman was having their first child. he got a telegram saying alice's child was born. they were all celebrating the
and our leader he gets another telegram saying you must come home immediately. your mother is dying and alice is dying too. the mother had come to take care of alice. shewas only 49 years old and she got typhoid fever . goes back home immediately, his brother meet him at the door and says the curse on this house. he goes inside, his mother is dying. shedies at 3:00 a.m. . 12 hours later, alice died in childbirth. they said he walked around in a dazed, stunned state. he previously had gotten a ranch that he might go now and then and he went for two years and became essentially a cowboy. he said as long as he could ride his horse 15 hours a day, physical activity prevented over thought i was finally able to sleep at night. later he said this was the best educational asset he could've possibly developed because he
developed this love of the land. that was permanently associated with his name for conservation measures. >> the daughter who was born named alice. why would he not really mention her name ever. why did he ignore her? he had his sister raising her. >> and get a very cavalier attitude toward death. once alice died, he couldn't bear to say the name was named alice. he only called her baby. he couldn't bring her up because heshe reminded him so much of his wife that died. he was friendly with a woman named edith who was in love with him. when he started to get healthy, he started corresponding with edith and in the end he had a marriage with her that was a
lifelong marriage. a whole bunch of kids. somehow, when something hurt him in the past. unlike lincoln who talk endlessly about people in the past and who wanted to remember them, he thought if something is gone, you exercise it from your mind. >> when his wife and mother died in the same day, he wrote a letter that said the light had gone out of his life. he essentially got his life is over. the idea he would ever become president at that time certainly didn't exist in his mind. >> before this all happened to him, he looked at his life as many people do when their ambitious as a series of the best that he'd like to go up. i'm in the state legislature, then i'd like to be in the congress and then senator and then who knows after that.
once this fatalistic thing happened, he decided can't plan your life that way anymore. i'm just going to take whatever job looks good at the time right can broaden my horizons. so he comes back to new york and he becomes a civil service commission are in washington. his friend say that is way below you, you have huge talent. then he becomes police commissioner of new york. they say why in the world are you doing that? it turned out to be an extraordinary experience for him. he's walking the streets at night. he made himself in the police department, he would disguise himself so he could walk on the beat between 12-4 a.m. and see if the policeman were on the beat. they didn't recognize him. he would say finally, i am the police commissioner, why aren't you on your beat? and what those experiences, then he becomes a soldier in
the spanish-american war. then governor, then vice president and president. he had the broadest experience bid and he was the youngest president. he said he learned - - he was not self-conscious anymore going into places he might never go. it's one of the things that saddened me about the last election. that political experience was considered a handicapped. in his case, it broadened him. it made him learn other ways of life that he from his background would have never known. >> for lincoln and teddy roosevelt, the problems they had in life were somewhat psychological. franklin roosevelt has a physical problem. how did that come about?>> he's up at camp - - and he doesn't feel well one morning. he goes out and exercises all day and he comes home so tired he can't even take off his bathing suit. he goes to bed. within 48 hours, he was
paralyzed from the waist down. haven't gotten polio. years of striving would follow him. it changed his life. no question. when he was in a wheelchair in the early days and they told him the only chance he really had was to strengthen his upper body. so he would asked to be taken out of the wheelchair put on the library floor so he could crawl around the floor so that his bat would get stronger. then he decided to crawl up the stairs and he would hoist himself one at a time holding onto the banister. sweat pouring down his face. eleanor said the actual everything was when he made it to the top, they would celebrate as of the mountain had climbed. she realized when these wounds were celebrated, he began to get his joy in life back again. it had been a terrible depression when he got not only that he be paralyzed but he thought his own ambitions and politics would be undone. at that point, yet not only been in the state senate, assistant secondary of the navy
and a vice presidential candidate. so he was definitely thinking he was going somewhere. the polio changes that possibility or so it seemed. amazingly, in 1924, al smith was running for the presidency. they asked franklin roosevelt who hadn't been in public since the polio would give the nominating speech. you know he would have to somehow go from there to the podium. i feel the way he could appear to be walking, he couldn't walk on his own power. was if he had braces locked in place and he could lean on someone's arm. he practiced for weeks at home. measuring the steps he could do. leaning on the - - of his arm. when he finally got to the podium, sweat pouring down his face but he delivered this happy, warrior speech. he comes home that night and says, we made it. much more importantly, though not ready to go into public life, he still thinks he can't be a politician or president unless you learned had a walk.
but he goes to - - springs because he hears that the hot water is can help you. once he gets there, something much larger happens. he develops into a rehab center. the first real rehab center. using the water to help their muscles but he wants people with polio to enjoy themselves again. he arranges dances and poker games. he learns what's it like to make other people feel better. he emerged different from that whole experience. completely warmhearted with an understanding of other people that have also been dealt an unkind hand. >> it wasn't a secret to most people in the political world that he had polio. but most people in the united states probably didn't know it. why was it that the press was willing to go along with the
idea of never photographing him in his wheelchair? >> it's an extraordinary thing. even the people understanding of polio, they didn't understand he was a paraplegic. everyone around him made a code of honor that they would never photograph him or show him with his braces on. in 1936, when he came to give the acceptance speech, he was being helped to walk down the aisle been reached over to shake the hand of somebody and he fell at his braces unlocked. he finally said to the secret service, get me together again. theyput his braces on , get him on the podium and he delivers the speech. most importantly, not a word was said in the press that he had fallen. when i think about where we've come since then when president bush and japan, when - - we can't wait to find them in those embarrassing situations. it was a code of honor.
if a new photographer came along not knowing and tried to take a picture. an old one would knock the camera out of his hand. there was a dignity to the presidency. you wish he didn't have to feel that way. but he made the decision then that that was not possible. if he said that in his political instincts are better than mine. and i salute him. there was a sense that there was a way of treating people with the gritty and the way the press handles politicians that i wish would happen today. >> the depression is something only lyndon johnson thought was comparable. he lost an election. can you describe why that would be such a big thing? >> at the last minute he lost and it did catapult them into such a depression because for him, it was a repudiation of his deepest self. that's what he was. he was a politician. he loved his wife and children
but politics had to fill this big hole that was too hard to fill without politics being there. what happened is he went into a decline. sometimes these adversities can send you backwards instead of forward. he decided he would pursue wealth instead of just working as he always had in politics. he turned his back on the new deal. he realized if he ever one another senate seat, texas was becoming increasingly conservative. so he would have to become conservative as well. when he gets into the senate, he pursues power and becomes incredibly powerful he becomes majority leader. the incredible thing is he has a second big anniversary six months after he became majority leader. he had a nearly fatal heart attack. when he was in the hospital he began to say, he's in the proximity of death. if i died now, what would i be remembered for? all of these people are so interesting that they think about that.
something larger than maybe what ordinary people think about. then he comes back to the senate and becomes the progressive person he had once been. he gets the first civil rights bill through the senate. it's the opening of doors to civil rights. and then when he gets the presidency, that becomes the thing he wants to do. to do something he will be remembered for any becomes civil rights. >> in the election, he could have won that election but he thought it was stolen from him. did he resolve never to let that happen again? >> in those days in 1941 and then in 1948, people knew there were certain counties where you could put as many votes and as you wanted to. they could just make people go add up extra votes. so you usually would wait to say how many votes you had or how many you needed when you know how close you were to the other guy. he was so short he had one, he wanted to make it happen earlier so he announced he had x number of votes and then he was carried around.
the other guy had his counties put more votes in his county. so he happens to win. so in 1948, he reversed the process. >> let's go through the leadership examples you go through in your book.you cited many. in the case of abraham lincoln. obviously a great leader but you cite principally the emancipation proclamation. why do things that is an example of great leadership? >> if i may say something first, in dealing with leaders, i realize all of them lived in turbulent times. that's the title of the book, leadership in turbulent times. think about it, it's become more relevant now than it was when i thought about it five years ago. each one of them faced an extraordinary situation. in lincoln's case, he comes into office and the civil war is about to begin. the country is on fire.
it's divided into two. he said if he's ever known the terror of what he would face, he doesn't think he would have lived through it. the big question is when the war starts, it's predominantly being fought to win the union. he always hated slavery and there were people were hoping even at the beginning of his presidency, that he would do something about liberating the slaves at the same time as preserving the union. he was stuck by the idea that the constitution protected slavery in those states. and he knew most of the union army was fighting simply to preserve the union and not to emancipate the slaves. as the war went on and as the north was doing so badly in the peninsula campaign and the summer of 1862, he went to visit soldiers which he always did in the middle of any battle.
to visit the wounded in the hospital and to get a sense of the situation while he was there, he began to realize more and more, that the slaves were helping the confederates and an enormous way. serving as teamsters, cooks, tending the plantations so that the soldiers can be liberated to come to the battlefield he realized he had powers as the commander-in-chief that is something were a military necessity, he could use those powers. he went to the soldiers home and he was able to think this through. he came to his cabinet that i'm going to issue an emancipation proclamation as commander-in-chief because the south is benefiting from the slaves. if we take that benefit away, it will help the north. some in his cabinet didn't agree and thought it would make the midterm elections lose. but somehow he has so created a sense of trust in him that they didn't make their disagreements public. then he had to convince the army when first were upset about the idea.
but so trusting had the army become in him because he get visitvisited them so many times that they went along with it. in january - - makes the emancipation proclamation real. there was a lot of outcry even at that point. when he went to sign the emancipation proclamation, his hand was shaking. that morning had been a huge new year's reception and handshake and 1000 hands. when he went to sign the proclamation, his own hand was numb and shaking. he put the pen down. he said if ever my soul was in an act, it's in this act. but if i sign with a shaking hand, - - said i hesitated. so he waited until he could have is that he hand a steady hand.
- - when he said i would die now but i haven't done anything to make a human being the member that i've lived. he said to joshua, i hope in this emancipation proclamation that my final hope will be realized. >> - - you wrote about 500 pages or so in the book.it's only 3-4 pages, the movie is a separate story. but it's about the 13th amendment. why did we need the 13th of them and after we had the emancipation proclamation? >> what was so wonderful about the movie is even though they chose a smaller subject, the 13th amendment. it still gave everything i cared about, most importantly that lincoln would have cared about about his character. his humor. his melancholy. his storytelling ability point
his moral convictions. his political genius. that was the important thing to show. spielberg wanted daniel day-lewis to play lincoln from the beginning that he had not said yes to the small horizontal script. when he finally said yes, he knew he had gotten his man. the reason why it was so important was that lincoln worried once the war came to an end that the military necessity would no longer be a valuable - - a viable way to have undone the constitution. so he wanted a permanent constitutional amendment that would end to slavery forever. >> let's talk about teddy roosevelt. there are many examples of leadership he gave you. what was it about the coal strike? >> i try to choose moments that were pivotal in each one of their presidencies. partly because i knew i didn't want the book to be as sad as some of these other books are. when a woman read the - - she
said she was reading at home at night and she fell asleep and it broke her nose. [laughter] >> i said i'm going to try to make this book on leadership not as fat. so i chose these pivotal moments. in teddy's case, there was a six-month strike between the miners in the coal barons. in new england, cole was the only way you got fuel. as winter and fall were coming, hospitals were closing down, schools were closing. it could have been a national emergency. the problem for teddy roosevelt was the president had no precedent to inconvenientinterv. he had to begin to see the idea that there were three parties to this strike that labor, management and the public. he represented the public. so he started to go around on a
train to talk to people and create public sentiment to tell people perhaps the president did have power to get involved because the public was involved. beloved to go sometimes six weeks in the spring and the fall and he would stop at little stations along the way. he would continue to go and wave to people who would just be standing on the track in these small there's a great story that he's waving frantically at a group of people and they're not responding, rather coldly. until because of his nearsightedness, he was waving frantically at a herd of cows. the president has a stewardship role and decides finally to invite both sides to the white house. never had labor-management come to the white house before. as was so different than what we imagine now.
they have this really unproductive meeting because the coal barons won't even talk to the minors. they say were not talking to these guys, they are outlaws. we can't have a conversation with them. but he had a stenographer take notes.the minor guys happened to be very open. they actually suggested arbitration. they said if you put into arbitration whatever you decide, we will go with you. the coal barons that were not even listening to these guys. so he publishes the whole meeting and it sounds terrible on the part of the coal barons. so they decide they will go to arbitration. so teddy it's j.p. morgan to suggest it. they get together, they settle it. on both sides. it really was a simple of a square deal which was a program that really symbolizes his entire presidency.
the rich and the poor, the capitalist and the wage worker and that's how he made his mark. >> fdr may be associated with the leadership of helping us win world war ii. but you focus in your book on something that happened when he just took office. we were in a depression. hoover had not been able to solve the depression but what does fdr do that sets a good example of leadership? >> the real thing he has to face when it comes into the office is it's a terrible banking crisis.in the weeks before he was inaugurated, banks were collapsing because people were going to banks that were collapsing so they started to go to their own banks to take money out. long lines and the banks didn't have deposits on hand to give money back. so it was becoming violent. so he decides the very first day he will call what he calls a bank holiday. close the banks for a week until he can get congress into
session and get them to shore up the weaker bank with currency that needed the money. almost like a bailout of the banks. they do it, they know which banks are strong and which ones aren't. but then he has to persuade the public that what he's done will make it safe to bring their money back again. he decides to give the first of the fireside chats on the radio which becomes a symbol of his entire presidency. in very simple terms he explained how banks work. he said you put your money in the bank, they don't put in a vault. they invested. in mortgages, businesses, to keep the economy going. what's happened in the situation is some of those banks invested in the stock market. the stock market fell so they didn't have the cash on hand. so were going to help those banks and we will figure out which is strong but if you bring your money back to the bank the next monday, it's safer than keeping it under your mattress.
there are long lines all across the country and they worried but they're bringing their money back. they bring satchels in because of his word. they trusted his word. and then those fireside chats become the most important way he communicates to the people. that first one was followed by 29 more. his voice was so reassuring. people felthe was coming into the living room . - - has this memory of being in chicago on a hot summer night. is walking down the street and he looks inside and everyone sitting with their radio on and there watching the radio and there listening to his voice. his voice came out the window and he said you could walk down the street and not miss a word of what he said. there's a story of a construction worker going home one night and his friend said, where are you going? is it my president is coming into my living room, it's only
right that i greet him when he arrives. - - [indiscernible]. [applause] >> - - had an ambitious legislative program but many didn't get so far. when lyndon johnson becomes president, he decides i'm going to push kennedy's agenda. one thing is the civil rights legislation. why was it so important to him and how could he being from a southern state that wasn't really interested in integration and his best friends in the senate were not integrationists, how did he manage to pull that off? >> knew he had to do something to show and grabbed the reins of power.
there was a real vacuum when john kennedy was killed. many people had no idea who lyndon johnson was. he decided he would make his first priority passing the civil rights bill that had installed. somebody was writing, the republic was not going to live if congress couldn't figure out how to get something done together. his friends warned him, if you do this, a southern filibuster will inevitably materialize. you will get any other bill through. you'll be expending all of your power of the presidency on this one thing. he said to that person, what the hell is the presidency for then? is that unlike a poker player. i will put all my chips on one thing. i think he believed if he could get this out to desegregate, it would be better for the south. even though they may not believe it at the time. he believes the civil rights movement was at a stage or
something had to be done or violence or problems would arise. he took that risk. it was one of the great moments of his presidency. despite the fact he did so much more in the next 18 months. medicare, medicaid. npr. pbs. immigration reform. and voting rights. and fair housing. when i knew him and those last days at the ranch, there was such a sadness as he talked about these 18 months and how extraordinary it was that he got congress to do things. that bill would have never have passed in my judgment. he needed the republicans to break the democratic filibuster. so he had drinks with them every night. what do you want in illinois? do you want an ambassadorship? anything you want.
i'm going to give you all the credit. i will give the republicans the credit. so he said, you know everett, if you come with me on this bill, and you bring your republicans to break the filibuster we get this passed, 200 years from now. our children will only know two names, abraham lincoln and - -. [laughter] >> let's suppose you see i admire your books but i don't have time to read this book. could you give me the essence of leadership? [laughter] what would you say these four individuals had in common and what other leaders of our country learned from these four people? >> i did feel after exploring this that there were certain family resemblances. there's no key to leadership. but they do share certain qualities. they shared eventually and
empathy towards other kinds of people so that they could bring them together and unite the country rather than dividing the country. they had humility that allow them to acknowledge their errors and to learn from their mistakes. they had an ability to communicate to the public in their own technology at the time. lincoln, as i said, because he was such a good writer. his speeches would be written and people would read them aloud. teddy had the perfect country language. he even gave maxwell house the slogan, good to the very last drop. fdr had the perfect was for radio. when you think about jfk and ronald reagan, they had the perfect ability to talk on television and time of the three television networks. and then obama is a master of the internet world and mr. trump masters social media at
the time he's running a campaign. but there's a problem in a difference in campaigning. when lincoln was president, he could have debated with anybody but he was the best debater. when people would go after him, someone said you are two-faced. he immediately responded, if i had two faces, do you think i'd be wearing this phase? as president, he never spoke extemporaneously. he always wanted to be prepared. he that words matter. that they have consequences. [applause] >> that was one skill they shared. the other skill i think is often unheralded, they all knew how to relax and replenish their energy to find time to think. something in our 27 world think we can never do.
they were pretty busy but they somehow figured out. lincoln went to the theater about 100 times during the civil war. he could forget the war that was raging. he said people may find my theatergoing peculiar, if i didn't do it with this terrible anxiety would kill me. he also had a sense of humor. when things were tough, he would come up with one of his funny stories and they would entertain the cabinet. when he couldn't sleep at night, he would wakeup his two aides and read them comic passages from shakespeare. he says so then he could go to bed thinking about comic passages instead of the war. which meant , then he could survive.teddy roosevelt was able to exercise two hours every afternoon in the white house. with it we don't have time to go to the gym for 30 minutes. he would have a boxing match,
wrestling match or his favorite exercise was to walk in a wooded cliff of a park where he had a very simple rule. that you have to go .2 point then you couldn't go around any obstacle if you came to rock you had to climb it. so these companions on these ridiculous walks are falling by the wayside all along the way. but the best story was told by the ambassador - - he was from france. he was so excited for his first walk with the president. he had a silk outfit on. he found himself in the woods, he was dying. he couldn't wait until it was over. finally come to a big stream. he said to my horror, so the president unbuttoned his clothes. he said it's an obstacle that we can't go around so we might as well take our close off.he said i too for the honor of france, also took off my clothes.
[indiscernible] [laughter] >> the most interesting person is fdr. he had a cocktail party every night during world war ii where the rule was you couldn't talk about the war. you could talk about books you've read, movies you've seen, gossip. after a while, the cocktail parties were so important that he wanted the people that went to the cocktail parties to live in the white house to be ready for the cocktail parties. - - [indiscernible]. when i was working on the book, i became obsessed with the thought of all these people and their bathrobes at night and when amazing conversation they
must have had. wishing i was up on that second floor when i was 24 years old. i started asking, where did churchill sleep. where was eleanor. of course they weren't thinking in those terms then. it happened that hillary clinton in the white house was listening. she invited me to sleep overnight in the white house. to figure out where everyone slept 50 years earlier. two weeks later she followed up with an invitation to a state dinner. afterwords between 12-2, we went through every room and figured out chelsea clinton is sleeping where harry hopkins slept. in the room they gave us was winston churchill's bedroom. there was no way i could sleep. i was staring at the corner where he was drinking his brandy and smoking a cigar. when he came there after pearl harbor, him and roosevelt
signed the document that put the soviet nationassociated nat against the axis powers. so he woke up the next morning and came up with the united nations. he was so excited to tell roosevelt that he went to his bedroom and had nothing on. and the presence of mind to say, please day. the prime minister has nothing to hide. [laughter] >> you mentioned your husband and unfortunately he passed away recently. in his honor, you're working on another book.>> my husband had cancer this last year of his life but he had started five years earlier about that meant a lot to him.
it was really a biography of his mind in a way. public service for something he valued so much in his life. despite graduating first in his class at harvard law school. he never really cared about making money and turning money around. he wanted to do something in public. so he went to do the investigation of - - then with jfk and lbj. that incredible, we shall overcome speech. the howard university speech. bobby kennedy's ripples of hope, al gore's concession speech. he devoted his life to public service. he was 86 years old when he died and he was watching he said what was going on right now. he realized that his long life, he had seen the turns and was in american history. like me, he said the end of
america has moved many times before.america is not as fragile as we think. so he wanted to write a book that showed people politics and public service can be an honorable vocation. want to make young people believe once again that they could enter public life and have a fulfilling time. he hadn't quite finished the book. the book kept going. it was so incredible to watch that he wanted to live not just for the book but because he was happy. there was nothing i could care about more that this man that i've been married to for 49 years. he went through surgery and they thought they got the cancer. he went to radiation, they told him they got it and we had champagne with the doctors. then he came home and two months before he died in may, it came back again but he finally got pneumonia and came home to hospitals. i've never seen death the way i saw it with him and my parents died when i was young from heart attacks.
i don't know he knew he was trying but he would wake up from his pain medicine. it was like an irish wake. all of our friends came in day after day. he would talk to them and say something to them. he had this light in his eyes. the last thing he said to me is, you are a wonder. something i will never forget. [laughter] >> thank you for that wonderful story. [applause] [cheering and applause]