tv Eric Foner The Second Founding CSPAN July 10, 2020 8:48pm-9:34pm EDT
part of the political culture and united states of socialism. he is interviewed by independent institute benjamin powell. at 10:00 p.m. eastern doctor ezekiel emanuel former special advisor on health policy to the director of office i during the obama administration discusses his book which country has the world's best healthcare. watch booktv on c-span2, this weekend. >> if you enjoyed watching first ladies, pick up a copy of the book first ladies influence an image featuring profiles of the nations first ladies, with top historians now available in paperback, hardcover or as an e-book. a conversation with a pulitzer prize historian on the 13, 14 and 15 amendment to the constitution which were added
during the reconstruction era. this virtual event was sponsored by the institute of american history. ♪ >> welcome, a new program sponsored by the institute of american history, i am president of the institute, we are going to be presenting important books in american history which are like the 18th century tiny our current important books by the major claims in our country. a historian who works on health and education program, we will present the historians that guided question-and-answer session towards the end. if you think you might like other programs, please go to our
website, now enjoy. >> good afternoon, and welcome everyone to the inaugural edition of the new institute of american history program, and brings you some of america's greatest historians where they discuss their most recent books and today we are going to be joined by eric as he discusses his book the second county. but before i formally introduce professor, i want to go over a couple of housekeeping roles, first and foremost today is mother's day, i want to wish a very happy mother's day to the most important people in histo history, past and present, our moms, very happy mother's day to all the moms who are now watching. and then we will be first going through the tech issues of the tech aspects for your viewers
out there, and introduction of myself and the rest of the team and them will be introduced with professor himself. for those of you who were new to the institute of american history, it's a nonprofit organization specializing in k-12 history education and serving the general public, we helped give you resources, educational resources and programs from the affiliate school program to the hamilton education program, we also provide direct access to a whole range of unique primary resources, many of which are from the 70000 collection of the institute collection. and i'm going to be your moderator today william, and part of the hamilton education program i'm one of the coordinator's name also joined by allison kraft and marissa who
will be helping with the q&a and with any tech issues that you might have. just for you guys out there so you know for security reasons your microphone is muted in your camera is automatically off in the chat is disabled, however, i know lots of you will have a lot of great questions to have but because of the fact that were going to have over 1000 participants in this program we cannot unfortunately do a live q&a so if you look at the bottom of your screen there is going to be a little q&a button for you to submit your questions and then we will pass those on to professor at the end of the program. i know all of you will have fantastic questions for professor but unfortunately we will not be able to do a live q&a session during the program
because there will be over 1000 participants in the program, if you do have a question for professor, submitted to the q&a section, you can find the q&a button at the bottom of your screen, today is professor eric, he is a specialist in the civil war and reconstruction era and his book the fiery trial, abraham lincoln and american slavery won the pulitzer prize. he is also the dewitt professor of history at columbia university and today he will be discussing his book, the second founding the civil war and reconstruction remade the constitution. without further ado here is professor. >> in the introduction of the book you mentioned it's really interesting where you split up
rights in four different ways coming took about natural rights, civil rights, political rights and social rights and how they were combined in different ways to give different meaning of citizenship. can you expand on that. >> one of the things to understand about reconstruction and why it's a pivotal period in american history, these concepts in the wake of the civil war and in the wake of the abolition of slavery, with being rethought up and on the society, i'm not a lawyer or legal scholar and in a way that helps to shape the way that i look at the history, i'm just what everybody's thinking, not just court cases or congressional debate, those are very important, her inner memoir said reconstruction was a period when the fundamental issues of democracy quality, citizenship were debated up and down society
in the classrooms, and the courthouses, in the parlors in people's homes, they were debating these. before the work if you were a person, you would say these are different kinds, natural rights, those what everybody should enjoy because they're human, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, those of the natural rights of hand kind with the declaration of independence. civil rights or the rights that you need to compete in a society and the right to own property and to go to court and things like that. then there are political rights, you can be a citizen and political rights, women could not vote anywhere but they were still citizens, political rights were regulated by the society that not everybody had them and then there was a vague idea, social rights which did not have much of a definition but who you associate with and who you will
bring into your home, things like that. there were clear differentiations that the law, some people we said have those rights in some only had some but all that changed in reconstruction and in the public debates or what we thought popular constitutionalism they come to be merged in popular consciousness as the rights of citizens, the rights of americans in particular interested in african-americans, the former slaves who were part of this debate and what they say, all these rights, we demand all of these rights, the same as white people, no longer shall black be restricted from voting the way they were in every state before the civil war. some states didn't give blacks the basic civil rights, illinois, lincoln's home state made it against the law for a black person to enter the state, free black people could not
legally enter the state of illinois according to the law of illinois. so there civil rights were severely restricted but now in reconstruction you get the key stories on how the concept of different rights gets merged into a new idea of the rights of americans. that all people audit enjoy and that is part of the impulse that leads to the rewriting of the constitution. >> if you would not mind, could you go through each of the three amendments, talk a little bit about the in how they were intended to be how they were put into the constitution and how they have been reinterpreted and used through the american history to the present day. >> that's a big question but that's what my book is about and let me say before, when you say what they were intended to do, that is legitimate historical question, i'm trying to figure
out what of the people that wrote them and ratify them have in mind, what are they trying to accomplish, how did they think this would change, when you get into legal, the word intent often used original intent, let's go back to the original intent of the founders and no historian takes the idea seriously, there is no important document that only has one originally intent. these amendments were compromises, they were also sorts of inputs into them in there was changes in wording all the way through ratification. there is a lot of intent in different intent in a lot of different possibilities and understanding the meaning of these amendments. what are they, the 13th amendment ratified, enacted in congress in early 1865 and ratified by the end of 1865
about slavery, throughout the entire country. in the process of doing that, could the word slavery into the constitution for the first time, the original constitution used the persons health of labor, other persons, slavery was in their protected but not to work. in the act of abolishing slavery it is banned in the constitution. why do we need that, how did lincoln free all the slaves and then answer patient proclamation, no actually. the proclamation of january 1, 1863 did free almost 3 million slaves but there was still another three quarters of a million to whom it did not apply of slaves of the four border states, missouri, kentucky, delaware, maryland who were in the union, they have not succeeded, they had well over half a million slaves but they were still in the union and the
procuration which was against the confederacy did not apply to them and lincoln excepted other courses of the confederacy as well. moreover, what you really need to get rid of slavery is to abolish all the state laws, slavery is created by state law. . . . congress will have the power to enforce this amendment with appropriate the 13th amendment. what is mean to enforce that. and obviously nobody can be bought and sold anymore. but slavery, go through ulcers
of things, denial of education, denial of the right of marriage. all sorts of rights are taken away when you're a slave. does abolishing slavery restore those rights to everybody. and what about the racism that is essential to slavery in this country. the abolishing slavery also abolish slavery give the government power to erase the racism. the residue of slavery. nobody quite new. but the civil act of abolishing slavery becomes much more complicated the more you think about it. and very soon, congress passed the civil rights act of 1866. one of the most important loss of our history. based on the 13th amendment to guarantee, to african-americans the basic civil rights, short of voting and who have probably have a law applying equal me to
you and others, that is part of the abolition of slavery, defining to be or what it is to be a free person in america. now you're free people who were slaves just a few years ago. and soon after that in 1866, congress goes further to approve the 14th amendment. in the most important amendment on the 14th of the night, and her history under the bill of rights certainly in the locust amendment through ulcers of things together. instantly the issues of the civil war. in there about the confederate that the southerners will never get compensation monetarily for this slaves. but the core is the first of the key part is the first section which begins by declaring anybody in the united states a citizen what is a big deal well
before the civil war those of the case, you be born in the ics as a 3 percent and ibm system. that is that is only white person to be a citizen, no black person could be a citizen. susan ship and race were closely before the civil war because of slavery. citizenship. the whole about society, politics pretty and it was abolished. everybody, this is what we call birthright citizenship is still controversial. because for example, this debate about well doesn't apply to the children of undocumented immigrants. a mother, a woman news here illegally. undocumented. gives birth to a child in the united states. what is the status of the child. obviously citizen pretty anybody born in the united states. doesn't matter what your parents
are, they can be bank robbers. that is not affect the status of the child as a citizen. the only exception is native americans. at the time, they were considered citizens of their tribal sovereignties. it was not until 1924 that all native americans become citizens of the united states. but the vast majority of a is now for the first time a uniform definition of citizenship and then the amendment goes on to say personal, no state cannot deny to anyone of these citizens, the privileges or immunities of citizens. and he will get back to this question, what is the original attempt of the referring to the privileges or immunities of the citizens. a tremendous array of opinions about that. some people including the supreme court thought didn't really amount to very much.
the most of your rights come to the states, not the federal government's of a citizen of the did not amount to anything. others said, no, privilege and immunities, and all sorts of things bridge the right to an education for example. all sorts of rights which ran over the course, it is interesting, just recently the district the federal district court case, coming out of michigan where they rolled that literacy is a fundamental part of being an american. the 14th amendment decision. they're so terrible that people are being denied a basic right of american citizenship. it is the right to be educated. now is a 14th amendment decision. it was over saint with the stay still and try to make sure that they guarantee a full range of rights and privileges for all
americans. so this amendment is being debated right now as we sit here and many levels of our judicial systems. then the amendment goes on. then he goes on to say that no state can deprive any person, not just citizens, anybody it was the world equal into the constitution for the first time, in a meaningful way. the original constitution mentioned what happens is to candidates. equal and that is a different question. now suddenly all will present you to enjoy legal equality. can you might say what is a big deal. but that wasn't true before the civil war or immediately after. black laws and codes, laws that apply only to african-americans and present in ways the white people are not punished pretty drive them of things which white people objected to.
equal protection of the law. subject to the 15th amendment. because into even further and 60 guarantee the right to vote to all black men in the country. citizen the right to vote because of race. but is limited because it leads of the other grounds to date but deny people the right to vote three to six, the women's rights movement were extremely angry about this because it was left of the right to deprive the women of the right to vote. because that is not discrimination on the basis of race. you can have full taxes and literacy tests. as long as they weren't actually configured. the right vote was taken away from african-americans in the
south on the constitution was nullified basically down there. and not that almost saying the black people care about anymore. they have all of these other requirements that was supposedly nonracial but the way they were implemented was to basically eliminate the black vote. but nonetheless, so these amendments make african-americans equal citizens. at least in terms of the law and the constitution. and that is an amazing transformation, ten years after slavery was the most important economic institution in the united states. now that formal slaves are elevated to this condition of equality that's one of the reasons i say in such a fundamental change in the constitution. and i'm going to stop right there. i give you long answer. >> that was absolutely fantastic.
now we transition to the q&a part of the program. with my question i wanted to ask is the reconstruction. , the second founding. which is really as you bring out a new book, is so critical in the history of our country. in some ways that is well known. we kind of go from the civil war and skip over until they are ready the start of the 20th century in some ways. first he could talk a little bit about why you think that is. and then also, how this reconstruction carries how because the historical interpretation of it change the decades as well. eric: well, you know, i have devoted a lot of my time to studying reconstruction. i have to agree with you, it's a very well-known. or understood. i think there's a lot more recognition of this importance nowadays and let say, when i was in school and college.
the reconstructions in my mind is critical to understanding americans today . the issues of reconstruction are right on our front pages. many push up for the moment because of the terrible healt pc health situation really makes. but he was a citizen. that is being debated every day. who ought to have the right to vote. it's being suppressed in many states. people thrown off the voting rolls, for trivial reasons. who should boat pretty is a reconstruction issue very much alive today. terrorism, research and for the period of homegrown american terrorism pretty talking about the ku klux klan. a group like that which actually killed more americans than van martin ever managed to do predict honeydew with americans from an army try to combat it . as question. the relationship between
economic democracy and political democracy. and at least for men, not women, there is a level playing field of political rights and yet economically of course the former slaves were at tremendous disadvantage. they came out of slavery without economic and were not giving the 40 acres that felt that was the right coming out of slavery. and steve avast economic inequality coupled with the tremendous trend towards political democracy. and unlike our situation art today, we have such an increase in inequality in the last generation or so. and for many years, i want to go into mr. biography greatly but for many years, we described as being the lowest point in the american political drama.
in other words, was a period of corruption, ms. government. according to the scholars of the earlier 20th century. many of them came out of my university. and they was part of the intellectual legitimation of the old solid self rated the jim crow south. look what happened when black men were given the right to vote. a disaster of reconstruction. one conclusion, the white south is correct to take the right to vote the way. even though there violating the constitution read it he gave blocks of basic rights and we would have another replay of the allegedly hours of reconstruction. i'm sorry to say someone is devoted to life as part of the historical profession that historians in this country, played a very important role to put it bluntly and spreading racist false history. which helped to legitimate the
old jim crow south and the denial to african-americans of the basic constitutional rights. what is a civil rights movement, such a place, that fell to the ground and since then, scholars have been rewriting and reconstruction history. i think we see it today is a critical moment in the history of american democracy. the great tragedy reconstruction is not that it was attempted with that it failed. written a bunch of books dealing with this. this particular book, even though it focuses on these three amendments. has pulled back a little and also about reconstruction. the last chapter is also relevant to the present day. it's about how the supreme court systematically whittled away at the guaranteed rights within the constitution. heather interpreted it. not in the moment but over the phone next generation of the 1880s and 1890s and into the earliest 20th century. how they love the right to vote
to be stripped away. have a legitimate angst like racial segregation same, that is not discriminatory. lights don't like it that is their problem. singling out a group of citizens for exclusion from public transportation and saying that nobody should complain about that. it doesn't violate inequality pretty and stripping away from the federal government the power to enforce the 13th, 14th, 15th amendment. every one of those eminent said that final cause to give the congress the power to enforce an onion even down to today, maybe seven or eight years ago in the shelby county case for any when the supreme court overturned the key provisions of the voter rights act of 18 or 1955. and again on the grounds that the federal government should be
bothered about who they let boat and headed out. even though the they were predicated on the idea of federal enforcement of forcing the states to treat all of their inhabitants equally. they had never done that before particularly in south pretty and this is part of trying to build a nation, of slavery. that was the name but unfortunately, this long history also shows us something which is a little bit uncomfortable. but rights can begin and they can also be taken away. in our history is not just greater and greater freedom but greater freedom and then lesser freedom. they can be gained and lost. and struggles go on and on. and reconstruction is to small moments in a much bigger struggle. to really make this into a democracy which claims to be. i will stop there. william: thank you professor and
for this incredibly important. so what were going to do now is to move into the q&a session. i see we have lots of questions ready to go. so allison you want to pass on some of those questions onto the professor. >> there were so many. they were all incredible questions is quite a challenging to narrow them down to just pimple. soldier . the first question is on jeffrey. he would like to know, and thank you not been assassinated, how could reconstruction have ended. with the country's trajectory and race relations have been the altar or did lincoln from that the servicing through his greatness and freedom from the problems in the field promise of reconstruction. eric: unsmiling. because i frequently get this.
it is understandable. this is what we call counterfactual history. it's not really history. but to think about it, i don't mind speculating because nobody can prove that i say what that i say is wrong. lincoln succeeded by andrew johnson. his vice president, became president when lincoln was assassinated. in the old view of reconstruction, johnson was sort of the hero pretty strike to step to the radical republicans pretty try to keep the south from under control of the white americans. in the radicals fulton. but he was defender of the constitution. now johnson is considered, one of the worst, maybe the worst president in american history. there were other contenders for being considered the worst president in american history. johnson is one. it was deeply, completely different from lincoln in every
way. he was deeply racist. he was stubborn and unable to listen to criticism. unable to change his mind pretty didn't know how to work with congress. no sense of public sentiment. i ended up getting himself impeached, first president tried before the senate. he was acquitted. inconceivable that lincoln would have gotten him something to that kind of pics. so what might have happened. the battle between johnson and congress was really joint, the civil rights act of 1866 and the 14th amendment of 1866. johnson opposed, vetoed it. he told south to ignore them. and to oppose them. lincoln would certainly not have been that. these were mainstream republican measures. every republican in congress virtually voted for the parade in lincoln was a mainstream republican pretty he would not have gone himself completely alienated from congress the way that johnson did.
and i was in 1866. these basic principles that equality before the law, citizenship. the reason to think that lincoln would've felt that he had to oppose them the way that johnson did. they go a little further and you say, what about black suffrage. lincoln never supported that predict before the civil war prayed black male suffrage. in his last speech before his assassination, illuminated about allowing the walmart black soldiers about it because who have been educated. so is moving towards they beat limited black suffrage. it would be supported reconstruction mr. congress in 1867 percent will be to governments in south pretty and alongside the white men. the further you go in history, the more speculation that this
resulted. and what would lincoln have done when the violence occurred in the south pretty the client violence of that kind of thing. i don't know. i'm assuming you would've opposed it prayed would be sent troops there. i don't know. but i do think that lincoln had the ability to try to bring the republican party in the country together with johnson he completely like that. the johnson did pretty with the race truck in front the support of the president and congress have some deeper roots it is hard to say. but certainly with johnson causing every single thing that congress did, i made a much difficult for progress to take place. >> thank you argued our next question comes from wallace would like to know the constitution, there was a crisper teachers to call the constitution living documents. how does that not connect with
the 13th and 14th and 15th amendments with the constitution new. eric: the term, the living constitution is sort of antithesis of the other philosophy is mentioned. the original intent pretty we misinterpret it only on the basis of what the language origy met when it was written in 1987 permitting the amendment prayed for them and saying no these concepts are flexible. they grow over time. the meaning of rights and equality, they change as time goes on. therefore you can't lock yourself into the moment that these things were written. the 14th amendment was written intentionally into become a living document. it was made very clear that they
chose these phrases, the due process, equal protection, things like that. they don't explain themselves. they need to be interpreted. and then congress will enforce this. that means is going to be an ongoing process pretty just doesn't end with gratification. congress and the power to make sure these principles are actually enforced. the most famous supreme court decision of the 20th century, brown versus board of education, outline state-mandated racial segregation in public schools. with the living constitution decision. the eight justices basically said that we don't even know but the people at the time thought about school segregation. that was not a big issue.
but we do know that education plays a are bigger role today than it did a hundred years ago. so we have got to deal with what it means to racially segregate people today, not what it meant in 1866. as your concept of a living constitution. certainly, many of the key 14th amendment decisions of our time have been living constitutions. gay marriage. the people 1866 were not thinking like a mate married so you can be sure of that. nonetheless the supreme court has use the 14th amendment equal protection of the law to say, look, the street people get married, gay people have a right to get married. this is just a question of equality before the law. you cannot stigmatize one group of people as unworthy of exercising the same rights as everybody else. the right to privacy is a 14th a minute right. it is found in what justice
douglas called the, the general interpretation of the bill of rights now flying into the state. living constitution is the way the constitution has been interpreted over time most of the time. but there is always another so-called original view. i think in a society which is changed, 150 years since the movements were enacted pretty would be pretty hard to interpret that simply on the basis of what was on inside 150 years ago. as a different world that we are living in. allison: our next question comes from sarah who would like to know, this the 14th amendment touch on the concept of one person and one vote. how does it impact what is considered a person in the u.s. constitution. eric: those are two different things but i think it is an interesting question.
yes rated one man, one vote is a sacred or one person one vote. that is another 14th amendment decision. it is trying to force the states to recognize the basic rights enforce the basic rights of any follow-up of equality everybody. and in this generalized rate, equal. one person one vote was a decision about gerrymandering away that history is gone. in order to maximize the power of certain groups maximize the power of certain regions. most before the state legislation, they were totally now portion in other words, small and populated counties that would have the same number of legislative's big cities with hundreds of times more population. eventually the court, said that
was a violation of equal protection of the law pretty your vote should count the same whatever part of the state 11. and again it just shows you have a 14th amendment has been used for all sorts of things. and again, our supreme court has counted on that. just a few months ago, there was an attempt to get the court to overturn the jerry manwaring of jet entered congressional districts were state legislatures, regrow these districts and they do it so that one party will get far higher percentage of the members of congress and the boat actually suggest they're entitled to. in the supreme court said forget it were not doing this. it is up to the estate to do it. and we're just going home. so the question is still up in the air. but as to what the constitution defines as a person. first of all, the first sentence
before that amendment, any person born in the united stat states, this relates to the decisions relating to abortion rights. yet to be born to be a person even there there's the sort of on board. but be a person with rights, you have to be born. it uses the citizen and the privileges of community that's on everybody but later, it talks about all persons entitled to due process of law equal protection of the law, and that includes immigrants, and visitors, much as citizens. and so you have varying nations of equality. but the whole question that is not explained in the 14th amendment and it has become of course very controversial no.
allison: i think we have time for one more question. and this question that will refer our final, asking what you see is the most challenged for students of history. eric: a lot of teachers of history. many summer sinners is sponsored for high school in middle school teachers for they have come to our university's midweek right with me and other sellers. johns hopkins university and others. i think the biggest challenge honestly if there's not enough teaching of history. we could send this teaching is not so good in this one is very good memories obviously around the country.
but unfortunately over the last 20 years there's been this tremendous so-called stem cell technological subjects. subjects that supposedly will prepare you directly for job. history does not seem to qualify that way. the job of historian is not a major job category in the united states. and so schools, but mentally schools, but states. late in new york. we have [applause] considerably in the amount of history that is being required for people to graduate from high school. in many states have done the same. in the naval no child left behind legislation under president bush and obama. privileged in terms of education. mathematics, english, and for struggling schools, they are's fundings are based on these test results in those areas predict
that is made history of injury. these schools can't afford to spend time in history. they're not going to be judged and finance on the basis of test scores in history. but when it comes to literature in math, that is when the money is. so all of these things have contributed i think to decline in the amount of history that is being offered free a report to those teachers, the ones we good job, those who are not doing a good job with the fundamental absence of enough history education i think is the biggest challenge to both the schools and also to becoming informed intelligent citizen. when people become adults and at the vote and think about politics. if you don't know any history, we want to be in a great disadvantage of being a citizen in a democracy. william: i think all of us here
are hardly agree with you on that. on behalf of the institute, i want to say, a vague thank you, it is been an absolute honor to talk to you this afternoon. i think all of our viewers for joining us before it let everyone go, i want to share my screen one more time. and to be able to let everyone see some of the resources of where you can get some of these. so if you want to purchase the second founding in any of the other books are going to be featured on this program. please go to bookshop .org/shop, and after we end this program. please complete the survey pretty we really much would like to get your feedback. and if you would find out any more information about the future programs, please go to the website.
and for all these fantastic resources on history education please visit the website. the big thank you and thank you to every one else out there as well and hope you have a fantastic afternoon. we wish you well. thank you everyone. goodbye. ♪ book tv on "c-span2" is top nonfiction books and offer authors every weekend. coming up this weekend, so the 9:00 p.m. eastern, but afterwards, author and former college president political commentator examines political the new face of socialism in the united states . and whether it is becoming part of our political culture. the united states of socialism, he is interviewed by interviewed by senior fellow. and then at 10:00 p.m. eastern, doctor ezekiel emanuel, former specialist advisor and the director of the office of advantage management in the obama administration.
which country has the world's best healthcare. watch book tv on c-span tooth this weekend. the presidents, from public affairs, available now in paperback and e-book. since biographies of every president pretty organized by the rankings, by noted historians from best to worst. and teachers perspectives into the lives of our nations chief executives and leadership styles. cspan.org/the president. to learn more about each president in historian feature. order your copy today. river books and e-books are sold. this conversation with a history professor heather cox richardson
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