tv David Mc Cullough The American Spirit CSPAN June 27, 2020 11:34pm-1:13am EDT
on we go. [applause] >> every saturday evening this summer beginning at 8:00 o'clock p.m. we are featuring a well-known author in their programs tonight the featured guest is historian david mccullough. and talk about the americans spirit the speeches he has given over the years he spoke at the jf kennedy library in boston. [applause]
>> i was about to say how special this night is that you all beat me to it which is great. welcome. i am the executive director of the jfk library foundation and on behalf of our colleagues in the library we are thrilled you could be here all forms are great but tonight it is a treat because it's also the beginning of the centennial weekend and we planned this months ago we literally thought would be the best pair
a speaker and moderator we could get for this historic time? this is we have and we are thrilled they are both here. [applause] first a few brief announcements first the underwriters and sponsors including our media is spent on - - sponsors and for the centennial. we are kicking off the centennial about what we're doing over the next few days but over the next few days there are opportunities from seeing a new exhibit with 100 items with those that have never been seen publicly before opening tomorrow.
doing a peace corps day we have an astronaut here as part of the attribute to nasa and then the navy to honor the service in just 100 years to the minute to have two teams flying overhead and then we will be eating a cake. we need help with this to serve 1000 people designed by the same company that did the cake for their engagement many years ago. so tonight literally standing room only in this auditorium and an overflow any other auditorium and we are also thrilled we are streaming this and watching parties in places including the jfk museum in hyannis and others and those
that are participating in line we have many distinguished guests and at the risk of offending some but there are many members of the board and because it's our centennial we invite the colleagues around the country. and with the presidential library from franklin roosevelt, harry truman, carter, george h.w. bush and clinton library for the foundation. former united states senator and wife and former ambassador nicholas burns and several members of the new england consul general for us.
>> after the first hour of dialogue there is a chance for questions and microphones on either i'll. if you are streaming tweeters somebody read the question i get up in line. and then to graciously sign books afterwards if you have them great, if not the bookstore has them. go out to help the traffic flow to go smoothly. if you haven't read this yet
the americans spirit who we are and what we stand for i just asked mr. mcculloch question in our but i promise i won't do that the mr. charlie gibson. based on the apposite inca speak for most people who know him even though i just met him listening on the news 34 years anchoring abc news cohosting good morning america interviewing anybody including nine us presidents it is a remarkable history he and his lovely wife are here tonight and david mccullough first i
feel bad he has a been recognized very much in his life. [laughter] everybody has two pulitzer prize. and to national book awards and the francis parkman price twice, and the presidential medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. everyone i know has been recognized by 54 honorary degrees actually no one else i now please join me to welcome this amazing panel. [applause] >> and as they come up and take questions those are pretty concise questions.
but the most famous tweeter in the world probably isn't watching. [laughter] >> i will get one of those i shudder to think what it might be. but we do look forward to this it is a treat for me as a very undistinguished history major and college to talk to david who is something of a legend. and we do together in the kennedy library which leaves me to wonder how many books will be in the trump presidential library? [laughter] [applause]
>> and in an interview with the "washington post" said he never read a book about a president either biography or a book about the presidency. he might someday he said. [laughter] he doesn't read books because his mind reaches beyond that. [laughter] i began to think about the great presidents over the years who have been avid readers of history, many wrote history including kennedy and even those who didn't have the benefit of college education like truman reading history all their lives and then realize the role of a leader the presidency or leadership of any kind history matters.
if i have one message to get across in my work in gatherings like this is that history matters. a lot. [applause] we are slipping in our responsibility of teaching history a number of us are evangelical preachers. and i am astonished that the jean people don't know about the country and its story. one young lady came up to me after i gave a talk and said
she wanted to thank me for coming to campus because until she heard my talk that day she had no idea all the original 13 colonies were on the east coast. [laughter] and another one asked in the q&a. aside from truman and adams have any other presidents have you interviewed? [laughter] >> there may not be many books in the presidential library but one hell of an edifice. >> which leads me to the second question.
school and high school and college and university and advanced degree isn't essential, and how it we were brought up at home and raised to behave. [applause] kindness, tolerance, empathy and hard work. and in pittsburgh pennsylvania where people worked hard but that counted how you appreciated by other people my father used to say charlie drinks too much but he's a good worker or fred is a terrible exaggerator telling stories but if you're a good worker that gives all other
feelings. we got to working very very hard doing the right brothers book two young men never had the chance to go to college ever finish high school that brought up to have a purpose in life. and then to use the english language. and so you read the letters that have survived. and humbling and the quality of the vocabulary and then to boast about yourself. or get too big for your britches.
and it impresses me even more given the situation we are in now. that kennedy almost never talked about himself. >> did not use first person singular. >> no. almost never. and then to go on and on to say the least with justification. >> you mentioned that and you say i'm searching for the quote that the first person singular never entered into so many others since. name names. [laughter] >> and it's what you do in public life and in many cases it is justified.
>> you mentioned for 50 years you've been given a lot of speeches many extemporaneous. >> but i am curious why you want to do a book of speeches now and why you chose these 15? >> when writing my book about harry truman i love the idea he went out for a walk every morning. so i thought to try that and then to start thinking in a way so last summer when the comments made by the republican candidate for the presidency to me were not only
appalling but unimaginably out of place. so what can i do to provide to the counterpoint? and those on national occasions such as a 200 anniversary of congress and the anniversary of the white house kennedy's memorial service in dallas which i was asked to be the speaker. and commencement speeches i have given a particular occasions and the history of other organizations or universities. and found there were a great many i was voicing what really matters to me and history is
fascinating and essential what it means to be alive. why should we live our lives with this little bit of time that her biological clocks provide to have access to the whole realm going back hundreds of thousands of years? so looking where the speeches made the appropriate. and the help of my daughter who arranged all these talks that i gave and kept the records of what i said. >> the first time i finished and put it down he is writing in the times to be apropos to the current time and i have heard you say before and that
they don't have a role of current politics. >> but i was talking before it came on the scene. >> and to read them a second time thinking what is a sentence or the paragraph or the point that could be taken to heart in politics right now? >> so each time looking in the speech what's the one point that could be taken to heart? i won't do each 112 out of but the first speech 1989 putting margaret chase smith and then
ride the political victory on the four horsemen. fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear. >> maybe is perfect only if you had a sense of humor. [laughter] >> can you imagine somebody reading that currently? >> it would be wonderful. [laughter] and she's a woman and most people today who margaret chase was the most admirable political figure we've ever
had. we don't have enough standing up now 1998 speech benjamin rush as other patriots of that time with original signers of the declaration of what mattered most to human relations and said i include candor and gentleness and disposition and then to add in 1998 words to the wise more than ever benjamin rush is one of my favorite characters from my past one of mother remarkable man of 18th century and the accomplished
physician with the fair and humane treatment and to put them away in a cell as if they were animals. and extremely courageous in the ability to go into places with their yellow fever epidemic and one of the signers of the declaration of independence and was all of 30 years old forget how young those people were jefferson when he wrote the declaration was 33. imagine. washington at the continental army was 44 years old. we see them later with their
white hair and very very young. a very encouraging fact of our story. i think we can ever know enough about the american revolution. by the way the new museum just opened in philadelphia is a must for all of us. and as a place to take your children and grandchildren for history. and brilliantly organized spectacular building and right
in the center of the historic neighborhood just steps down the street. but we lived in the boston area take the reality of that era as part of the environment. that's great. but i love kennedys profiles in courage and not aware yet what i wanted to do with my life and john quincy adams for example. and the first word i like and that quotation is civility which is a lost are in the public discourse of america today. and that that existed beyond
people and their needs to be a common end. and those deep chasms of division in this country. the two sides seemed unalterably opposed when politics trumps policy. but the sense of national goals is gone and party goals matter more than national goals. what brings us out of this quick. >> leadership of the best kind. to stand up for their convictions the backbone to do what's right irrespective and
it's mainly for the people. and the three segments of government legislative judicial and executive. but the fourth is the people. . . . . >> maybe even decisive when someone reads about mortgages is what i'm going to do. some in the government right now. guilt happen of the necessity to survive. david: will expect that pretty
c7 to me, i believe, we are basically a country where 30 or 40 or 5060 percent of people are in the middle. and what government to get something done. and we ain't doing it. david: and doesn't mean that we won't. we have come from very hard and baffling times. very pessimistic to times. david: inappropriate behavior times as far as leadership. bullying come through the mall. i'm very we do come through them. these difficult times. these dark dark sky times. when you come through, we're better for having done it read people talk about that was a simpler time back then.
no it wasn't. there was a simpler time. things have never been so bad are so dark. so for voting. yes they have. and if you don't understand that, he don't understand the reality of our story. like to point out the influenza epidemic with my parents and your parents probably went through pretty 1918 and 1919. 500,000 americans died of the disease. a disease that they they didn't know where it came from, didn't know if it would ever go away at all how to cure it. if that were to happen today, given the size of our population proportion to our population, 1,500,000 people would die. in less than one year. now it imagine if there were in the nightly news overnight. would all be even more
terrified. could be next in our family to die. injustice and depression in the civil war, horrible times. but we came through them. because we have the faith that we would and could. and because we understood that the much consequence, have accomplished alone. has to be a joint effort. that's what they have come back to and understand. host: the tolerance and insistence of truth in the good hearted and some the american people. they're they're still playing them. then you added, 2004 speech the you answered that 90 percent of american share those values. how does that square with what we did election last november. david: this is not an answer. this is part of the answer.
let's not forget in the popular vote, hillary clinton one by almost $3m votes read so innocent though it was a landslide. and donald trump really one by very narrow margin. we have several major problems obviously. one is that that poison a big money involved here. the idea that members of congress dialing for dollars everyday. half the time. the fact that where have become a nation of spectators. we sit around and watch things all of the time. watch television, let somebody else do the performing to entertain us.
not to doing things as much as we should. and were not making anything on her own. not getting out there having to solve these problems. the statue of everybody of course. where eventually generous. immensely on-topic. we care sincerely and with fervor about education still. and we should be infinitely proud what's been achieved in the last 200 years in the way of the greatest universities the world. the same problems. yes the cost has gotten out of hand. but there is no institutions in higher learning anyone or comparable to our own. omar has been in all of history. this is an immensely admiral an important accomplishment. just as innocent and memorable
that we are making advances in medicines such as no one ever imagined. i think that future historians will say looking back, the politics and the military and political upheavals all over the world. all very important. but look what was happening in medicine. look what has happened just in our lifetime. we were looking at diseases the john kennedy in the new exhibit is about to open, the diseases the kennedy, rose kennedy, john kennedy's mother. when little file card that he had has as a child, and my wife and i each had two brothers who had infantile paralysis. just even exist anymore. scarlet fever. all of that spring to mention
the dna or successful transplant organs. spoiled. we have pin given so much that we are ungrateful and we should be making are teachers heroes. we should be celebrating them. [applause]. we should have major awards and statues, the great teachers that shaped the lives of so many people. i feel that our teachers are doing the most important work of any of us pretty and we all are to get behind them to make sure they understand we are all for them. [applause]. host: being married to an
educator, i would second that. before leave the subject of her current residence. we think john kennedy would think of trump steps pretty. david: [laughter]. we all know. he would be embarrassed. he would be appalled. you wouldn't believe it. we've never had anything like this happen. never as anyone remotely so inappropriate the responsibilities of the presidency and the job. [applause]. and virtually everyday he makes sure that we know this ignores that we thoughts. [laughter]. is if we have put someone in the
pilot seat was never flown a plane. kent doesn't think it's important to know how to fly the plane. just a little surprised about how much more complicated it is that he realized. [laughter]. >> of the fact that this guy with healthcare, it was so complicated. i was in college history major. one of the things that a boy struck me would be through which history has seen through the different prisms produce social historians, economic historian's political and demographic historians. natural resources historians pretty goes on and on. but whatever prism you are looking through, you see history can see history differently. what kind of historian are you. david: i am not a historian. i am not free to have no
advanced degrees in history. never studied history the way i would firework and academic. i'm a writer. who took up writing about people, real people and events that really happened. my job is to tell that accurately accurately as possible with the basic conviction that histories human. it is about people. but the human potential and limitations. it is about good people and bad people. is about the home x. and it's about stories the really happened. a big influence on me as a writer of history, was barbara, said that it no teaching history effectively writing about history. tell stories.
it is what i am trying to do. i'm also trying to bring down to front and center stage, people live in the background more than they deserve to have been. john evans. like the builders of the brooklyn bridge of the people who made it success at panama happen. and it women. abigail adams. now catherine wright, the sister of the two wright brothers. i don't think it would've succeeded and they've never got an adequate credit for that. i hope that my book does that. exist to the point where she has recognized pretty because not only have been important. but interesting. an admirable is human being. host: i'm also surprised as
people who have been seen this heroes they do not care as well as the historian eyes is a renaissance and etc. i think john kennedy is very now read. david: pending very well . liberally in a point where we stand really pass judgments. truman said have to wait 50 years for the dust to settle. 750 years. he will begin, it's not just went before him, but he was followed him. as he compared to that. learn the consequences of decisions he made didn't make. we need to look much more at the importance of the decisions that the presence didn't make is important is decisions that they did. eisenhower made not go into vietnam for example. decision the john adams made his president not to go to work with
france which the whole country was trying to do. it would been catastrophic catastrophic if we had done so. this is all a big part of it. kennedy, the problem will be set off so soon. we very rarely take the president serious as the others is only served one term. there's a president who didn't even served one term. content, look what a foot print, when markey left our sense of who we are. host: is someone who had written volumes about johnson. in their terrific books until great stories. it is interesting that you really have to look at the kennedy presidency seems to me in the presidency that falls because johnson might not have
been inclined to be so ideology full with his predecessors, really took his predecessors to heart. and became an. it's amazing how that really many respects johnson may have been able to do things the kennedy could not have done. david: it be hard by two been more different from each other. i'm sure when you say you interviewed 11 presidents pretty. host: nine . david: [laughter]. i interviewed i think seven or six or something like that. and gotten to know those. what strikes me is how different they are from one another. really different. jimmy carter compared to say
george hw bush bill clinton. some of them in my view, deserve more focus and attention. the way that my instinct is, gerald ford deserves more attention than he's received. he deserves first rate biography. because any think of all that happened in the very time that he was precedents, and when you think of what he coped with. could kill them twice. his wife suffering from alcoholism. i was here on the profiles on the encouraged panel, the year you gerald ford profiles in
courage or because of his pardoning nixon. and when he did that, you know it would probably cost him reelection prideaux most certainly. and he did it anyway. he did the right thing. saved us all kinds of grief pretentious behavior. people all roles. the big difference today is start taking a look at gerald ford. i discovered it this, the volume of material that you have to deal with. as a researcher, as a biographer, is overwhelming and otherwise you're just sort of skimming through all this material. what is in this collection here. could keep one doing research
for full lifetime and get through all of it. but that's none of important that we all this wonderful material witnesses is staggering mountain to try to climb. every book of the kind that i write and it biography and history is a joint effort. two group project. mia anderson copy editors page also have librarians and specialists that you want to interview. so when you see those acknowledgments in the back of biography mystery of those people are just there to be sort of tipping your hat. those people all contributed enormously to result of the as
it is. in a make it one more point charlie. the problem or not teaching history slows we should do. not requiring history this course is requiring in college. a person colleges required of history. that's wrong. i believe in required courses because for one thing, i think it is important. yet americans have that stage of life are to understand some things are required. [laughter]. surprise surprise. but the satisfaction from the ratification comes from working
good people such as our in this library having help not just with think no their ideas. suggestions with matthew might take. to make new discoveries. they are invaluable, he should never be in a new underestimated. yes we have right now, some of the's finest writers ever, writing marvelous history and biography. reaching a very large audience. people like robert carol and many others. we have superb documentary films being made. and broadcast by pbs and other networks. all that is important. lofgren i think it's because so many people today reach the age of 35 or 45 and 50 years old,
they realize who don't know much the history of the other no. i'm going to read that book i'm going to watch that documentary tonight. host: talking about history using revised pretty interesting things going on today. your proud son of yellow. and i'm proud son of princeton. and because of the backgrounds, kristin has gone through agonies try to figure out exactly how to depict woodrow posen whose name is so closely associated with college. now there are statutes. develops to civil war leaders that are coming down. to the consternation of many who live in the south. when you think that finding revision history notes are those things proper. david: start renaming everything. because someone did something is no longer acceptable as being
virtuous. like owning slaves. there's no end to how much you will have to rename including couple of our country. have to take washington monument and so forth. i would much rather see a start to race statutes or rename monuments to those who didn't own slaves. and it did so contrary to the moment. most importantly john adams. the only founding father president never owned a slave. in principle. this next president never undersigned, was son john quincy. there no great building same for either of them. the race statutes for either of them. i think taking the statue stands
out is the right thing to do. because most all of the statutes as you progress, but during the jim crow era. numerous done at the time of the civil war. they were done in the early part of the 20th century. network really saying that we who believe, and inequality of racial citizenship are professing we stand on this trip i would not have rename kaplan college. i certainly wouldn't take wilson's name off of buildings at princeton if it were my decision. i don't want us to start renaming our cities and towns. i'm more interested in giving more attention to people we have
ignored. getting too worked up about too much attention to the wrong people. host: you've mentioned and you talked about the importance of history. and yet we are in a situation in this country where things are changing so fast. in this location of the job market for instance is incredible. there are those same 20 years, have the jobs maybe even more, the people will occupy what have not been invented yet. i was on the board of my college for eight years. the graduating seniors would stand up and we would sitting upon the stage looking at them and when i went in the port from first graduation i had was 2007. there were a handful of graduates and computer technology. when at the barn 2015 come the number was huge. number of engineers, stand up is
growing exponentially. okay said the day said that if you're a student in college for me should study one of three things. artificial intelligence, energy or the biosciences can talk about social sciences or humanities apartments of those things what are the given how fast things are changing. few or do you think the kid should be more word as a graduate about what is changing and how change and how to adapt. how to prepare themselves for job market that is so uncertain. david: an i may be stuck in my ways. so out of rhythm with the realities of modern high-tech society, and i confess to it.
today is a computer. i don't know how to work the computer. right on a manual typewriter. [laughter]. [applause]. host: which kind of a phone you have. [laughter]. you talk into a pop tart. david: are you ready. where the heck is it . [laughter]. way ahead of all of you. there it is. [laughter]. and they tell me about all of the things they can do. and that's wonderful. i'll all i want is a telephone. i think the decline of the emphasis on the humanities the very serious mistake. i really do. let's suppose that you come out of university with a degree in chemistry have a degree in high-tech communications or
whatever. none might get you very good job right away. that might be due to very important and constructive career. but if you come out of college knowing how to use the english language, you are going to be a rare bird of great value. naturally. almost half of the law schools in our country today, now require their incoming freshmen in the college graduates to take a course in basic writing because they don't know how to write a presentable letter or report or analysis that sort of thing. they don't know how to express themselves in our language. this is not only handicapped, it is a risky trend. any kind of reasonably civilized society incapable of using the english
language in expressing yourself in words, and also have no sense of the pants of her country. the nation. his sweet really held back to serious drawbacks to your qualifications, leadership in all fields. it must be encouraged minor students in our universities and colleges. there's a lot of us working hard to bring back humanities. and with good reason. think of the jobs that are open and people can use english language, who know how to write. who know how to think in the english language. words are what we think with. our vocabulary is declining. very specific proof of all of
this. our children today, their vocabularies less when our generation is. words are what we think with. thinking by the way is important. [laughter]. one of my favorite of all discoveries in the diaries of john adams, they kept marvelous diaries. by the way no one would keep a diary anymore. it is true predict he can subpoenaed and used against you in court. but an entry january 15th or whatever, would take at home thinking. [laughter]. [laughter]. could you imagine if somebody washington today were so right that for her diary is an honest record of what they did that day. thinking. host: i would add one addendum to what you said.
perhaps reflects the profession for much income. there's no question that the ability to write is something of a lost art for students. a very good friend of mine is actually president at princeton. i had dinner with recently and she was about to read five oral argument presentations for phd candidates. and i said how good were the theses and she said well, two of them were legibly written. three of them were not very good. the addendum i would add is also the ability to present your argument verbally. david: oh yes absolutely. host: to be able to present and defend your argument poorly. warren buffett said recently that he could predict anybody was a good speaker and who could logically present an argument do it verbally to a crowd, and urge
people to learn to speak publicly. he said you make 50 percent more in lifetime than you will if you can't do that. search for me. [laughter]. lord knows what i could've done. but it's important. both of those things. i think what you are saying, so important because of that dislocation of the job market. you don't know what you going to be doing 20 years from now. and so in basic grounding, and moral thought and in the humanities and social sciences and history, because the critical thing is to be adaptive. you can adapt yourself to a changing environment in the workplace. sue and i would like to read something if i may from one of john kennedy's speeches. i think cannot be more valid or
relevant to today's situation. i think this is a man slid into the job still. but not new to what the proper objective of education and learning and civilized society should be. i look forward to in america which reported's achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or state grant. look forward to in america which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength, before civilization. this country cannot afford to be material of rich and spiritually poor. artistic great unifying and humanizing experience. life of the arts, far from being an eruption, distraction and the like of the nation. it's very close to the center of
the nation's purpose. it is a test of equality, tested equality, domination civilization. i am certain that after the dust of the centuries has passed over our cities, we need to well remain a member but not for victories of defeat in battle or on politics are contributions to the human spirit. [applause]. yes. host: yes. david: . host: so that, may invite any of you who have questions. u.s. you to keep them brief. i would say that to the audiences. deming's speech. winemaking your way to the microphone, just a quick russians. most interesting person you have a meds and once you have researched. david: one was the most, just
died last few months. tom should have been a name for everybody no tom changed history in a very few human beings avenue. yes is largely unknown except the medical profession. tom startled the physician who successfully made the first double transplant organ transplant, success. he change that whole realm. one man. who kept on. for the theme of this book, salina: at the beginning. from george washington. it couldn't be more true and certainly, true of tom. he was interested in everything. washington said, perseverance and spiritist and wonders in all
ages. you gotta keep at it. you don't give up. if you get knocked down, you don't lie there and whimpered wine. you continue on. and i think that is something we all need to be reminded up. and are reminded of the examples such in the story of her own country. host: the most interesting person you have researched. david: i think right now manning vanessa cutler. boy talk about in my commencement speech that i gave at ohio university. he was a preacher massachusetts. in a church there. he was also doctor, also a lawyer and practiced all three of these professions having introduced degrees in all three. and as a man who convinced the
continental congress in the summer of 1787 before we had a constitution to create what was known as the northwest ordinance. that was the territory ceded to us by britain at the end of the revolutionary war. mary and the size of all of our 13 colonies. and no roads, no bridges, no towns, nothing. but wilderness. in molds and native americans and rattlesnakes in paris you name it. they specified, passed by congress, it would be total religious freedom in this area which would be made into states,
five states. they rubio ohio, indiana, illinois, michigan, and wisconsin. the total freedom of religion. it would be government support for education from grade school all of the way through college. hence the beginning of the first six universities. and there would be no slavery. the mansion, sandy kobe of the constitution pretty either before national government, with the president of the united states eliminated slavery, frivolous half geographically of our country. a phenomenal accomplishment in this one man. he virtually pulled it off. and he was a classic polymath. benjamin franklin. he was a brilliant but this pretty is an astronomer. his most interesting man. [laughter]. he qualifies high.
it. host: i know of this for of the five states way for hillary clinton. [laughter]. yes or over here. guest: massachusetts or rhode island, i'm worried about four years from now, it is a seem to be a leader in the democratic party. we have the name seth who looks pretty damn good. but it's customary coming singlet an expert in freedom when we filling was with the next leader of the democratic party would be. david: 's i can tell you i personally before. absolutely joe biden. if back is a man of character. he's also had experience. both personal and professional. grace been down and gotten back up and away the justice admirable and extreme.
somebody will come forth. and somebody is very strong character and admirable attitude. and someone to come forth in the republican party if this present occupant doesn't last much longer. host: is very interesting, and glad, this first time that had chance to be white house reporter. and the decency of the guy to do that, but he did with nixon. his persistence would be good to gibber the house. he said today he is the presidency. he was the right man for the moment. it is amazing the genius of the american system, how it sends to
bring this people to the top. david: he was a grown-up. [laughter]. and a gentleman. host: i don't know that s-uppercase-letter. but i think i do. over here. guest: books based largely newspapers and documents and letters and those are some sources . so few people write letters today. newspapers seem to be in decline. what sources future writers were used. see what i think the have a lot of trouble prematurely. the have no letters or diaries to go by. they wrote you know what we are like. only right by computer might not last. there's a very good chance enough a lot of it will cost. this is exactly heartfelt crystal expression of the kind of letters and diaries have.
as too bad. if any of you, by any chance are interested in and mortality. [laughter]. start keeping a diary. when about anything you want every day. and keep on doing it until you reach the point we think the curtain may about ready to come down. then commit to massachusetts historical society they will be quoted forever. there will be the only diary in existence. [laughter]. host: mentioned in the book, that your reading diary of elisabeth reed pennsylvania, the 18th century. david: are not . so the guy. guest: book is about speeches
that you have given. i was wondering if you would comment upon the ability of president kennedy in his capacity as a person who gave speeches. in a very brief presidency. and this seems he gave many memorable speeches of. i think more so than any other politician who was around the television age growing can actually see and hear and listen to the speeches. i'm just wondering if you would comment upon that ability. david: if he had done nothing but give the speeches that he gave, he would be of value in enforcing their history. it was extraordinary. i let speeches stand the test of time and away the dissent the usual case worried except from abraham lincoln. of course franklin roosevelt to pretty low no one is used words such power and effectiveness at
the moment. as kennedy did. when i gave the address in dallas. when kennedy was killed. i devoted of most everything i said two excerpts from what kennedy's own words were. because not only than he is, since nature of this man. 's personality and talents as a leader. but the gift he had to use the language. he was in his way the master literary figure. a great reader and he understood the use of the language. the power of words. host: is a lost art totally. but make the case book barack
obama speaks in a convention and then, a speech on religion that was so important in diffusing that issue in obama's speech on race in philadelphia was one of the great speeches and a president has said. david: is a very powerful speaker. anything there. of considerable importance. i think he has been an inspiration to many of people in a way the president ought to be. host: [applause]. guest: thank you very much. it is a pleasure means both of you. firstly on to say thank you for all the information on john and abigail john quincy. i was a park ranger for a summer for the adams historical site. everything you say and more
about those people, he made the president's. also some of the redactor. but anna the comment on the belief that integration be required. i'm a professor of social studies methods to teach both in service and future teachers. there are elementary school teachers. he said that is the families and the lack of learning about history and culture and learning to live with others and appreciate differences in suckling on the house. what about in the elementary school. i got around to lots of elementary schools. hundreds and until there is no time for social studies. we only have half an hour a week. went to do math science and reading. i point this out at the national conference and i couldn't can
answer some wondering what yours is pretty. david: my feelings, very strong feelings as a way to get young people involved in history. best time to get them is in grade school. because they want to know. it but the presidents and heroes accomplishment and so forth. and they love stories. their wonderful books that can be used at the gradeschool level. and in my own case, i was swept away in grade school student by a book called ben-ami. but a mouse that lived in ben franklin's hats. [laughter]. absolutely marvelous book. i can't, then grow up as one of the very large family and the famous old church in
philadelphia treated and then bend the nails. [laughter]. 's name is amos mills. i can't ever, going to the church wonder if any of this with the families descendents in the church. sitting in the salisbury. [laughter]. one of our granddaughters was in a class in grade school and the children, eating first lady are present, it that you want to be paid enough to put on a show for all of you mothers and fathers in your point introduce yourself as the president so-and-so. and talk about yourself rid my granddaughter caroline was harry truman. [laughter]. in the conference was franklin roosevelt read the night of the gathering the parents, these
little people came out there and gave a wonderful account of who they were what they did and why they should be known about. all of us just amazed. one of the surf that not one of those children will ever forget which president they were. it will be with them for the rest of their lives. that is the kind that will work wonders in many ways. we need to bring i called lamb technique to teaching history more than we have. this is true all the way through. high school college. get them involved in a project where they have to do the work. they have to dig in and get their hands dirty. the research. they shouldn't just hand them everything. and say here's what need to know. here's why this is important. so to be in the test pretty no.
get them pumped by getting involved in a detective case aspect of it. that works like else. mr. reed. guest: you mentioned the importance of universities. the world-class universities that we have great assets of the country. the two elements of universities today the firstly find dismaying. one is the emphasis on political culture. pc. mainly administrators seeming to fall into the track of protecting their students from controversial opinions. inviting bubble rooms. for example, one of you could comment on that in the second situation, the defendant dismaying the other day to watch cspan it was sure to african-american professors there's also to feminist professors, both in well-known user universities were talking about the relevance of the constitution. since they were not blacks and women are not part of the decision-making at the time, was
wondering if you could comment on that as well. david: very easy question wouldn't you say. [laughter]. is appalling. it's very disturbing. very unsettling. i personally this may be too simplified of our response. indicate that i really don't understand the actual workings of modern-day president of the universities life and decision. but i think when that happens, lack of leadership on the part of whoever's running that university. not just the present, but the faculty. the politically correct mode is awful. it is unrealistic. this have anything to do that
understanding reality. men were not that kind of a country. we are still able to express our opinions of the soap without fear of being attacked or degraded or made to feel a fool. host: soon speakers are counseled because of student uprisings, and places, 100 students work out of the notre dame graduation speech given by the vice president. when speeches are canceled by the california berkeley because students do not agree with the opinions of those about speak. i presume you would oppose that. so to other people who are trying to be provocative in the way they hold the speeches pretty. david: over the president of the university remember of the faculty with something like this
happened. i would speak out in favor of a different attitude. and hope that the majority of the students and members of the faculty in the alumni would be persuaded in the sense that i was seeking was the right one. i'm surprised at how few university presidents take any position politically. i don't understand it. is it because they were afraid that damage their ability to raise money. i don't know. but in the old days, it was note was. they spoke out and they voice their opinions. host: how by the second part of the question. and the fact that perhaps there are people in this country because they did not represent them did not feel they were fully rep. in the earlier days. it's not important.
david: there are 17 amendments of the constitution that has done a lot to straighten out the level of the playing field. guest: 200 i may. one of the things we need to do is teach the constitution. [applause]. i don't know how many of you have seen the test of the new americans coming in the history of the country. probably two thirds of the country to pass the test. but they had to pass it. and they do. and some of the most biggest readers enthusiasts for american history's that i have met over the years, our immigrants. who can't understand how few people among us how many among us know almost nothing about the history of our country.
it doesn't have to stay that way. guest: i know when you're researching your book, see where the people working lived. once the relevance in your mind of today's and what we soon preserve them pretty soon i'm sorry, the importance of, you actually mentioned in the book, the menu are doing, and history of an individual. did you know and see, first of all you reap what they read. and you go a look at the houses and where they grew up in with their surroundings were. why is and 40 how important should be considered that as people who might be interested in a particular historic figure. david: i think it's essential. let us remember that very distinctive traits that are common among animals.
one is that we are embedded in childhood, by written environment by our terrain pretty book on the is out there. all the rest. we grow up in some section or other. we don't realize but we think that it comes from that environment. so if you don't understand somebody is going to that environment and seek only the people for example, many of the common popular traits and characteristics and where he plays of harry truman, hugo out to the independence missouri spent time there, you realize that the way a lot of people are pretty and see expressions use that language as he is. i stressed very strongly finally get to read but the roads, projected brief but they read.
and what were the books of the guiding literary experience the youth of their childhood. i remember reading a wonderful line with john adams letters to abigail it in which he said, men not succeed in this struggle. we may not prove fruit proves successful but we can deserve it. i read that i thought well, nobody thinks like that. we can deserve it even if we don't win. and, i mean, some months later many under george washington wrote and there is the same sentence. the same observation. host: is a plagiarist print. david: no washington. [laughter]. nineteenth century, then in use?
action according something pretty need to know it. they know it. this was the line by joseph adams from play in all credit ratings for most popular literary accomplishments of the 18th century. this happens again and again. their shaped my what they read. and by what we agreed. this characteristic of the time in which they were living. always felt i had to go market seen smoke or whatever. and i can walk the walk. if you like them entering into the lives of these people are just as real and just as alive as we are. no longer ramps.
guest: a long long time ago gerald ford was my congressman. as soon as i sit here and the kind words that you have to say about him. because lots of people really do not appreciate the kinds of things that he did for this country. so thank you for those comments. i'll be looking forward to the book that is coming out about gerald ford and she said could be written. [laughter]. host: is a wonderful historian who was president of the ford library. we'll think he's written a biography. guest: this is the defendant note amazingly profound evening for me, hearing you talk. one of the issues i've had many years, is that kids are not taught civics anymore. i took civics in the eighth grade read been a political junkie all my life. i want to talk to people about things like the constitution, a
study law in history and government major. i'm appalled by the total lack of knowledge. the disinterest in the constitution. the kids are taught basic civics and grade school, the chances that they will carry that interest and concern responsibility on entered also is pretty slim. cyanobacteria thought that i would love to know what can we do to bring it back. david: make it required. truly. absolutely. [applause]. be required. one of the things about the military academies as they all require it. in many ways, the graduates are coming away with an advantage of students in regular universities do not necessarily that habit.
when i was in college, we had to take a science course two. the work that was out, pretty commonly understood, the easiest science course must geography. excuse me, geology. so i immediately signed up for geology. host: is called rocks for jocks. [laughter]. david: yes. the professor was professor clint. richard fled. [laughter]. of course teams and is rocky flats. and rocky flats was very tall superman severe looking man. and very impressive. and i'll never forget. in many others went through the same course would never forget it. but for the state we walked out onto the stage. and here's what he said. imagine the empire state building. now imagine a bible lying flat
question. i covered a lot of local government in my time and city councils and school boards. the interest in what school boards are doing it varies. depending on controversy that they are very accessible to lobby by the public if you go to school board member you should require civics and enough people do it, civics will be required. [applause] >> is somebody like jfk would take office today how would he approach those foreign policy change on --dash challenges we
are facing now? >> knowledgeably. [laughter] [applause] he was a natural born diplomat that he understands upon the sea is essential in life and between nations. >> i went back after i heard the inaugural speech last november and reread jfk inaugural speech the well-known quotes are much remembered but one is to those people in the hudson village
of mass misery we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves for whatever period is required not because we seek their votes but because it is right. contrast that to last november every decision on trade, taxes, immigration, foren affairs is made to benefit american workers and american families. that's a real contrast. >> hello. i one of the youngsters in the crowd. [applause] and you have given me a lot of homework. [laughter] my question is the fact you have 19 grandchildren? what is one message you constantly telling them as they are growing up and what is that message or that theme what is the key that is so
important nowadays and in the future? >> i have considerable irish blood in my background and i don't just give them one. i'm not capable of just one. [laughter] but one of my favorite quotes it's framed on the mantelpiece in our house and they all see it and know it was from jonathan swift who said may live all the days of your life. live every day. live all the days of your life. that's what matters. getting the most out of life while you are alive. and that energy feeds on expending energy and theodore roosevelt once said black hair rarely sits behind a writer
whose pace is fast enough you don't mope or feel sorry for yourself. self-pity is an ugly human inclination but get up and do things and accomplish something make the world a little one - - the world a little better help other people. be kind. have empathy and put yourself in the other person's place and try not to be boring. [laughter] it's not fair. that's unkind to your friends or family. [laughter] >> good evening. i am a history teacher here in cambridge massachusetts number
one what are you currently reading right now for enjoyment? >> when i'm working on a book i don't read anything but all that i need to read to be confident enough to write that books are right now i'm reading all about the northwest territory and biographies and autobiographies of the whole cast of characters. i've always wanted to write a book about people you've never heard of. i would love to have the capacity in the story itself to get you into the tent and not rely on, what's the word? celebrities. i was greatly influenced as a student in college by thorton
wilder and his novels and play. if they could write a book about real people in a real town and have sufficient material to get inside their lives in nature? and drawing on letters and diaries and so forth. i found that in a collection in marietta ohio which was the first settlement in the northwest territory people who all came out from here they were veterans of the revolutionary war and adequately compensated with what was then called script and it was worthless so they
word compensate for that terrible oversight some of these people were veterans of the revolution who had been through eight years of difficulty and then they go out to start a whole new community in the middle of the wilderness and unable to get into their lives in a way you couldn't do for a group of people today because we won't leave that type of a record. every imaginable thing that could go wrong went wrong but they would not give up. and, this is important we tend to misjudge people because they are members of this group or that group or this religion or that religion of those we
misjudged this idea they were black and stuffy and boring and had no fun. not true. they wore colorful close they would sing and dance with parties and many admirable objectives and one was educatio education. it was essential in part of their faith and to see how they took that idea of education out to the unoccupied wilderness to create these towns and civilizations exactly what they try to achieve back here is exciting.
i want to know more about it ever undertaken a subject i didn't know about if i knew all about it i wouldn't want to write the book because that's the adventure learning all about it and i'm learning what it was like to be a pioneer in that day and age. >> with that we will wrap things up i asked david to do one more thing before i send you on your way but i really do appreciate you spending an hour and a half being attentive as you have been somebody that used to do two hours of live television every morning i can tell you that's an exercise of bladder control. [laughter] so is being here for an hour and a half and as attentive as you have been. i read the book i wanted to find something appropriate for the evening a good way to wrap it up. i think all of us profoundly remember the. after 9/11. it was a very special time in this country that there was wonderful unity that i wish
were still around in our society. we are in a position now we cannot talk to each other and that is dismaying and the speech just after 9/11 and david said this. >> it is said everything is change but everything has not changed. this is plain truth. we are still the strongest, most productive, wealthiest, most creative, most ingenious, most generous nation in the world with the greatest freedoms of any nation of the world of any nation at all time. [applause] >> thank you.
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