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tv   Guns Capitalism and Revolutions in the Americas  CSPAN  August 9, 2015 9:10am-10:01am EDT

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the professor discusses the intersection of guns and revolution in the americas. how americans could not create a large-scale drug production system. un production- g system. he focuses on the haitian revolution. part of the was a society for historians of american foreign relations and will meeting. -- and you will meeting.- annual it is about 50 minutes. > it's my great pleasure to introduce our featured speaker for today's lunch. you are in for a treat. you made a smart decision to be in this room right now. that's not in here. professor bryan delay is a native of colorado springs.
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he grew up in the springs -- i am a former resident of the springs. pardon me. he obtained his bachelors at the university of colorado and his doctorate at harvard. he has been serving as an associate professor of history at the university of california berkeley, what some of us like to call that other school across the bay. professor delay is known best for his 2008 book "war of a thousand deserts" which won 5 major book prizes. his scholarly articles have won multiple book prizes. he has even ventured into the realm of art history in a terrific essay on winslow homer's famous painting, "watson and the shark." just published in the new collection entitled "the familiar made strange: american artifacts after the transnational turn."
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brian's new contract under ww norton is to be called "shoot the state: arms, capitalism, and freedom in america before gun control." professor delay is also a multiple award-winning teacher who has served on an organization of american historians and a fulbright distinguished lecturer in japan. he won major fellowships from the henry frank guggenheim foundation. yet i must add that professor delay wears these achievements lightly. he is great company.
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no one else represents the two fields better. bryan will be speaking to us today on the topic of guns, capitalism, and the independence of the americas. memeber, i give you one of your own, bryan delay. [applause] prof. delay: well, good afternoon everybody. i want to thank, sincerely thank tim and the program committee for extending this tremendous invitation. i am deeply honored to come and speak with you today at the luncheon. i'm also a little guilty because tim reached out to me and said, borderlands is going to be an important theme for the conference and we would like you to talk at the luncheon. and i told him, well, i'd love to.
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tim was too nice of a guy to withdraw the invitation. [laughter] prof. delay: i am going to be talking about guns, specifically the international arms trade in the americas during the american revolution, the haitian revolution, and the spanish-american wars for independence. guns have been curiously absent from scholarly efforts to integrate the histories of these three important events. scholarly efforys that have been mostly focused on ideas. gun runners can be found hiding in the siloed histories of these historic events. but we know very little about the early modern arms trade as such. that is surprising for at least two basic reasons. the first is that the relevance of revolutionary ideas depends significantly on the means available for acting upon them. specialists observe that europe had consensual empires in the americas. that britain, france, spain, and
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portugal governed by consent, not by force. that is true enough in many ways. but consent is based on a realistic assessment of alternatives. and guns, like ideas, can profoundly change those assessments. firearms exercise power over the immaterial as well as the material. they reconfigure wills and imaginations as well as bodies. and they do this by changing people's calculations of what they are willing endure, risk, and imagine for the future. the second reason that the arms trade matters is that it bound up three independence wars in dependent relationships. in a nutshell, my argument today is that neither the haitian revolution nor the spanish-american wars for independence could have possibly
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prevailed without the free trade in arms that came from the u.s., which was itself a neglected but extremely important consequence of the american revolution. prior to the american revolution, a tangle of formal rules, informal structures, and historic legacies made it impossible for even the wealthiest of colonists in the new world to arm themselves against empire. in effect, european colonial mercantilism had thrown up a great dam around all the new world colonies. a dam that kept the means of destruction from flowing west into the hands of europe's american subjects. how the dam functioned, how it fell, and the consequence of its destruction are part of a larger story of hemispheric significance. the story casts new light on the curious durability of european imperialism in the americas
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prior to the 1770's. the story is crucial to making sense of the dramatic reconfiguration of hemispheric power in the generation after the 1770's. a reconfiguration whereby the locus of power shifts from western europe to north america. and the story constitutes a neglected but a crucial pivot in the history of capitalism in the western hemisphere. the newly independent united states committed to the free-trade of war material. they equipped insurgent armies across the hemisphere. victorious movements swept aside barriers to international trade and foreign capital. the arms trade was the leading edge of capitalist transformation in the western hemisphere.
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over the next two and a half hours, i will try to convince you of that. [laughter] prof. delay: just kidding, 40 minutes. by doing three things. first, i will tell you how this dam functioned. second, i will tell you how it was demolished by a very improbable coalition of monarchists and republicans. then i will say why the haitian revolution would have never prevailed without the demolition of the dam and the arms trade it unleashed. let me begin with the dam itself. insurgents needed many kinds of war materials if they were going to overthrow european empire. they needed reams of cartridge paper, tons of lead, hundreds of grass cannons, tens of thousands of bayonets, millions of gun flints. above all, they needed muskets and gunpowder. permanently dislodging france or great britain would sooner or later involve overcoming
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militias so decisively as to secure a treaty with independence, or at least the recognition of it to other great powers. that military victory would hire -- require tens, if not hundreds of thousands of muskets and thousands of tons of gunpowder. there were only a few places in the world capable of producing arms in these quantities during the late 18th century. and none of them were in the western hemisphere. the vast majority of the world 's guns were made in birmingham, st. ettiene, and a few other european cities. they were the most complicated objects many people saw. i have a prop to show you here. more than two dozen sub trades went into the making of a musket.
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at st. ettiene. two dozen sub trades. the lock mechanism alone consisted of 10 carefully cut and balanced iron parts, and merely producing a quality barrel at st. ettiene involved 4 supervisors overseeing 14 armorers. this is a replica from a flintlock musket, this is what i passed around. these things are hard to make. and they are really hard to make in quantity. i had a whole musket when i got to the airport in san francisco. [laughter] prof. delay: this is the only thing they let me take. these things are hard to make. in the sister cities around western europe, artisans trained under a master for a decade. the state imposed demanding regulations and quality tests and contracts from great mercantilists, and large mercantile firms sustained the whole enterprise. nothing like this existed anywhere in the new world.
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and nothing like it could be created from scratch in the middle of an independence war. gunpowder presented comparable problems, equally daunting problems, although they were different kinds of problems. during the 18th century, gunpowder consisted roughly of 15% charcoal. potassium nitrate. charcoal provided the fuel. although there were pieces of wood that were preferred, it could be found anywhere. sulfur came from readily available international trading circuits. but the problem came with saltpeter. it was the magic oxidizer that
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supercharged the explosion. the best saltpeter in the world came from india. everyone in the world agreed with that. what is astonishing is that india was also responsible for 70% of the global saltpeter production. the british gain control over almost all of it in their victories in the seven years war. panicked european rivals try to compensate for this with costly state run research programs run by some of the enlightenment's best minds. colonists had precious few of any of these institutional, financial, or scientific resources at their disposal. so as was the case with muskets, then, the gunpowder required to drive europe from the americas was going to have to come from europe itself. so how could this be arranged? this could only be arranged by solving a trio of interlocked problems. accessing the right networks, conjuring up payment, and transporting payment and
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material back and forth across the ocean. given the scale of the wants -- remember, they need a lot of all of this stuff. given the scale of the wants, overcoming these challenges would have been difficult even in the international market. but colonists in the 18th century america did not have an international open market. mercantilism might have been fraying at the edges in the 18th century, but economists were still traveling across the economy that mercantilists built. they were forbidden any access to most foreign markets, deprived of hard cash, and mostly bereft of oceangoing ships. consider first the problem with networks. where could private persons go to buy an army worth of guns and
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ammunition in the late 18th century? that required not only timely market knowledge, but informed and reliable contracts abroad. exchanges involved 3, 4, 5 commercial partners in multiple continents, speaking different languages. this obviously would compound transaction times. but it also deeply compounded the substantial uncertainties and risks involved in this kind of transatlantic commerce. merchants relied on chains of credit. in technologies like bills of exchange. and marine insurance to facilitate long-distance trade and to minimize risk. most of all, they relied on each other. they relied upon far-flung and laborious networks of trust, across the atlantic world and beyond. every colony in the western hemisphere had merchants with transatlantic networks. legal and illicit. but mercantilism's formal rules and informal incentives channeled these networks
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inexorably towards the metropole and their possession. newcomers could not access the intensely personalized nature of mercantilism, based on mutual trust in connection. network problem, big problem. if somehow the network problem could be overcome, recruiters would still have to be paid. here another of mercantilism's feature, the redirection of nearly all specie towards the metropole, presented problems. nearly every colony was specie poor. paying for huge qualities of foreign-made munitions required large-scale exportation of colonial products. things like grains, fur, timber, fish, oil, and especially of course, cash crops produced by the hemisphere's millions of slaves. that meant securing physical control, not only over labor, but also over the sites of those
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labor production and routes of transportation to the coast. and paying in kind, rather than cash, compounded the network problem. because merchants specializing in war material in europe were very seldom the ones in the best position to handle large shipments of colonial products. these had to be shipped to merchant a, he would provide bills of exchange that could be used with merchant b, who could actually provide you with the war materials. even if the right contacts could be made and a viable method of payment arranged, would-be insurgents still had to solve the transportation problem. mercantilism was woven into the treaties that bound europe together and prohibited almost
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all direct trade from foreign companies. foreign merchants contemplating sailing to most american ports would be subject to legal seizure and confiscation by watchful imperial navies. as for colonial merchants themselves, all of their waterborne trading was suitable for coastal trade in the caribbean. old world firms by the 1870's controlled the large amount of oceanic shipping. so it would be exceedingly difficult for colonists to transport large quantities of war materials in their own ships. in fact, they had to do a lot more than that. because the value to weight ratio was so much higher for these colonial products, they had to ship much more east than they needed to get west. so these three confounding, interlocked problems, dealing with payment, network, and transport.
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these acted as great passive obstacles to serious anti-colonial rebellion in the americas. but of course european monarchs would not be passive in the face of open rebellion. if the structural impediments to obtaining war materials were the bricks in europe's mercantile dam, imperial vigilance and interference provide the mortar. this complex amounted to a extremely sophisticated alarm system. one that started blaring the moment colonists showed up in foreign parts sniffing around guns and ammunition. once those alarms went off,
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empire knew exactly how to mobilize diplomacy and violence to magnify these would-be insurgents' merciless trinity of problems. all the while, the certainty of interference meant that rebel agents had to procure far more war materials than they thought they needed, just in hopes that just enough would get to the armies of the other side of the ocean. now, if all this sounds basically hopeless, that is because in fact it was basically hopeless. smuggling abounded through the new world, and no monarch could ever hope to totally suppress the arms trade. so i'm certainly not saying that. but europe's mercantile dam made it difficult for a subject in the americas to equip themselves with enough ammunition to achieve independence through war.
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it is an overlooked reason i think that anticolonial rebellion is all but nonexistent in the americas prior to the 1770's. it is also why so many observers expressed incredulity when they learned british north americans were preparing to go to war against their king. is it possible, contemporaries wanted to know, that people without arms, ammunition, money, or a navy, would break against the nation respected by all the powers of the earth? possibly, yes. rational, that must have seemed pretty doubtful to those who knew how the world worked in 1874. this brings me to the second part of my talk, how this dam finally fell. the revolutionary war began in part because of attempts to breach this dam. in the summer of 1774, an american smuggler named benjamin broadhelp defied british mercantile trade resurgence and sailed his ship the polly directly to amsterdam.
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following the boston tea party, which happened the previous december, and the so-called intolerable acts a few years later, broadhelp did not have to be warren buffett to figure out that there would be a seller's market in ammunition. what he does is stocks up 150 tons of dutch gunpowder and he weighs anchor for nantucket. but he doesn't get away before someone notices. this fellow, sir joseph yorke, the first earl of hardwick, long serving british ambassador to the united provinces sounded the alarm to his superiors in london. other similar reports right around the same time start coming in from the hague. distrustful british managers ordered them to do everything they could to frustrate guys like broadhelp. and fatefully, officials in london prohibited war materials to be exported to the colonies.
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once news of this prohibition reached new england in december, outraged patriots decended on arsenals and powder magazines across the region, hauling away muskets, cannon, and ammunition to secret locations. in boston, a general responded by redoubling his own efforts to secure munitions storage in various places in the region. these culminated on april 1875 in an attempt to seize the materials in concord, and you all know how that turned out. once the shooting began, the continental congress had to address its army's truly staggering needs. private gun ownership was more widespread in british north america than in any colonial region in the western hemisphere. careful samples of inventories from massachusetts and south carolina for example, suggest
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that on average about half of white households possessed at least one firearm. a very rough back of the envelope guesstimate, and no one got in trouble guesstimating about numbers of guns in early america, right? [laughter] prof. delay: so this is okay. put that number between 150-200,000 guns. that is a lot of guns. but a large proportion of these guns would have been unfit for military service. and a lot of the people that had workable, serviceable guns would have been reluctant to give their only good gun up when they were facing invasion and war. so while private guns did go to the rebel effort, they weren't nearly enough. leaders in congress made this absolutely plain when just a few months after the declaration of independence, congress orders agents to procure 100,000 muskets in continental europe. as for powder, the colonies had perhaps 80,000 pounds of powder on hand. that's the best estimate we have. that also sounds like a whole
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lot of powder. most of this dated from the seven years war. so 80,000 pounds sounds substantial. but patriot forces expanded nearly twice that much just in the two and half years of the war. totally inadequate. rebel leaders sometimes indulged themselves and each other and the public in the idea that domestic production could overcome this massive gap. it could not. powder mills went up in every state except for georgia. but couldn't even meet state militia needs anywhere, let alone the vast needs of the continental army. and in contrast to cities like st. ettiene with thousands of artisans and specialty, the total wartime firearm industry
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in rebel north america -- this is a pretty amazing number, i think -- the total wartime firearm industry consisted of about 200 men. most laboring alone or in pairs in impromptu, inefficient shops. from the very beginning of the revolution, it was absolutely clear that independence would depend existentially on imports. robert morris, one of philadelphia's shrewdest merchants, would oversee the importation program from a secret committee in congress. even among colleagues that despised mercantilism, morris was an unrivaled prophet of free market capitalism. "commerce ought to be as free as the air," he wrote. unrestricted by government. morris did not have a problem with government helping commerce. that was all well and good, as far as he was concerned. from his perch in the secret
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committee, he doled out lavish contracts, often to friends' firms, even to his own firm in pursuit of this goal. he mobilized an astonishingly far-flung network of foreign merchants, correspondence, brokers, commercial agents, ship's captains, spies, and manufacturers across the atlantic world. by 1776, americans could be found hustling arms in the port cities of spain, france, holland, and italy. off the coast of west africa, awaiting munition deals at sea. and hunting down gunpowder in every port of the caribbean. to pay for all this, colonists loaded their hulls with fish, flaxseed, flour, and tobacco, indigo, and rice from the slave south. morris'system was amazingly
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effective and ambitious -- at first. i think that he was probably as important to the success of the american revolution as george washington, and that there was really only one person with more importance still. i will leave you in suspense as to who that person is. without the timely arrival of gunpowder purchased, washington would not have been able to engage boston in the march of 1776. but the king's countermeasures soon began to tell. diplomatic protest in continental europe disrupted networks and constricted the flow of war materials west. in the dutch republic, for example, from whence so much gunpowder had sailed out, sir york had sharp words with his friends in the state general. they reacted by prohibiting munitions sales to british subjects and began to closely police and monitor their traders in airports. more creatively, british agents
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spread lies in two places about europe about the imminent end of the war. and that had the desired effect of spooking merchants that had been contemplating major arms deals across the ocean. in the first two years of the war, the british navy effectively tripled the number of its ships in the america station. the sea is full of all kinds of smugglers. there is not one in 10 that escapes coming and going. by 1777, the navy began stopping and searching neutral as well as colonial vessels. and this move sabotaged one of the key insurgent stratagems, which was to ship their produce to europe under foreign flags. and it also convinced prominent caribbean merchants to quit the insurgent trade altogether. it was just too dangerous. morris found it increasingly difficult to make agreed-upon payments, and before long, most of the firms that he dealt with in europe were bankrupt. no single british countermeasure was decisive. but collectively, the critically
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endangered the war effort. by the winter 1776-1777, against a background of brittish victories, colonial arms smugglers were coming up empty. washington found himself running out of powder, and told state governments to stop sending him unarmed recruits because he had no guns to give these guys. "our affairs are in a very bad way," he confided in 1776.
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"the game is pretty well up." no other colonial coalition in the americas could have possibly come as close as they came to breaching europe's mercantile dam. even morris' british north americans couldn't quite do it. not alone, at any rate. london's remaining fear was that france would avenge its defeat in the seven years work by doing for insurgents what the market cannot. the british confronted the french that they had been secretly aiding the rebels. you can almost picture him sigh and shake his head wearily as he says, well, if a lucrative trade could be carried on with hell, certain french merchants would send their ships thither at the risk of burning their sails. but my government will continue to do everything in its power to stop the arms trade to these insurgents. not because we want to help you, but because american independence would threaten us.
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he invited stormont to imagine a future in which these insurgents prevailed. they would immediately begin constructing a great marine, he projected. and "with the superiority and every advantage of situation, they might, whenever the please, conquer your american island and ours." the french minister said they wouldn't stop there. it wouldn't happen in our lifetimes, but it would certainly happen, that in the process of time, they would not leave a foot of the hemisphere in the possession of any european power. thus, while some in france welcomed england's troubles and wished to sustain them by arming the rebels, vergennes and his monarch did not. they may indeed have rejoiced in the stress of their rivals, but
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the larger danger is plain to those who look ahead and weigh its consequences. this performance thoroughly reassured that the rebellion would have been doomed if vergennes meant what he said. [laughter] prof. delay: but as you all undoubtedly know, he was lying. this is why, in my view, he got to be known as even more important to the success of the revolution. he oversaw a massive complex to send arms to the colonies. france issued massive grants to benjamin franklin and other agents in paris. with no collateral and casually generous terms that would be used to buy munitions from private vendors. france help to secure smaller loans on its allies, especially spain. and it pulled on a variety of other levers in order to ease the problems of networks, payment, and transportation. the first of the resulting shipments of arms and ammunition arrived in march 1777, heralding an early spring to washington's despondent winter. "glorious news, this," washington exalted when he heard
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about these arms shipments. french shipment sustained the war effort while morris' programs basically collapsed. france and spain formally entered the war soon after. and their navies especially are critical to the ultimate american triumph. but french money and french weapons sustained washington's army from start to finish. now vergennes' policy is fascinating not only because it was successful to the success of the revolution. it is fascinating because it was also one of the most disastrous decisions of modern international history.
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contrary to his hopes and expectations, the war did not seriously weaken great britain, it did not enhance france's geopolitical situation, and it did not bring the u.s. into the french trading orbit. what it did was provoke a profound budgetary crisis that would lead to the summoning of the states general, the outbreak of the french revolution and the destruction of the french monarchy. bad decision. among all the ironies here, one of the richest and the least remarked upon is this. the prophecy that vergennes unfurled before the credulous stormont proved to be so much closer to the truth than the geopolitical expectations that he thought to conceal. they had blown the mercantile dam to pieces. but in his life -- pardon me, in his lie, he foresaw the truth. independence would inexorably produce a mighty spirit power whose transnational reach would undo european empire throughout the americas. and initially that would happen through the arms trade. so this brings me to my last
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part of my talk about the consequences of the destruction of the dam. i want to try to, in this part of the talk, to justify this claim that the haitian revolution was dependent upon the u.s. arms trade. i should say upfront that the haitian religion and spanish american wars for independence were enormously collocated events. they were both longer-lasting and far more destructive than the revolution. and anything that i can say in 11 minutes is going to be grossly reductive and superficial. and i'm going to say it anyway. [laughter] prof. delay: insurgents in spanish america had a particular advantage. they could be reasonably confident to pay for arms and munitions. they could do this through
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plunder property, through plantation crops, maybe even through gold and silver. but like any other metric, by domestic manufacturing capacity, by network connections into foreign markets, and by oceangoing ships, they were far behind their british north american counterparts. the massive rebellion in peru in the 1780's for example enjoyed no conduits whatsoever to the international arms trade. and it succumbed to british reaction despite the astonishing bravery of its partisans. in one final regard things were even worse in the 1790's than they had been in the 1780's, certainly in the 1770's. whereas the north americans have launched their uprising in a time of european peace, rebels in spanish america launched theirs in the context of the french revolution and napoleonic wars. this meant a profound disruption in transoceanic commerce and most importantly, an unprecedented contraction in the atlantic world arms market.
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all other things being equal, these disadvantages would have hobbled these later independence movement, and indeed probably would have dissuaded them from ever chancing it in the first place. but of course, all things were not equal. the treaty of paris had heralded something new in the western hemisphere. a large and growing free market economy unrestrained by mercantilism or old world alliances, possessed of a great and growing merchant marine, and deeply committed to the buying, making, and selling of guns and ammunition. soon after independence, the war department auctioned off tens of thousands of its older muskets to wholesalers involved in the international trade. the u.s. continued to energetically import guns from europe whenever it was able to do so, given the context of the wars. and u.s. administrations tried to facilitate these deals. for example, in 1807, when james
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monroe requested the assistance of the british navy in securing safe package for 35,000 cast off muskets that the financier james swan had purchased from the dutch. the government went further. it built state-run arsenals in harpers ferry, and it told out lucrative contracts to private manufacturers in hopes of encouraging a really robust domestic arms industry. crucially, american diplomats also wanted an exception from british prohibition on so peter exports during the napoleonic wars. this enabled manufacturers to make the u.s. significant gunpowder manufacturer and exporter. finally, the u.s. committed itself to the notion that private citizens have a right to export war material anywhere in the world so long as they
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themselves were willing to take the risk. in sum, the new republic had lots of war material on hand, continued to export -- pardon me, import and produce more of it. its arms dealers were indeed willing to take the risk of selling it abroad. u.s. war material was crucial in ways that historians fail to acknowledge to the haitian revolution from its inception all the way through its triumph in 1804. on the eve of the uprising, that u.s. had about 500 ships involved in the trade and its 13 points. this island with second only to great britain in terms of its importance to american trade. and as shocking as the uprising was, to most americans, the commercial opportunities involved were plain to see. just months into the uprising, philadelphia's "federal gazette" reported "any price is being
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offered power in arms on the island." that same newspaper published a story of american merchants running afoul of the french authorities, even being executed for selling arms to "the revolted men of color." and british observer in jamaica insisted that the rebels were abundantly supplied by small vessels from north america. obviously france vigorously protested all of this. the u.s. government claims, we don't have either the right or the capability to suppress this trade. this obviously was self-serving. but it was also entirely correct, which was an important part of this story. in contrast to west european rivals, new u.s. didn't have the revenue to actually police international trade.
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moreover, out of necessity and design, the emerging customs regime, such as it was, was extraordinary deferential and run by local mercantile interests. the same interest deeply invested in a trading with the island. merchants even convicted the government to issue licenses. and these licenses in turn become prerequisite to obtaining marine insurance in this quite dangerous trade. finally and easily overlooked is just the basic fact that arms exporters enjoyed the physical production of being based in the u.s. for the agreed french to attack gun merchants in their place of business, which is the only place you know for sure you can find them, was obviously unthinkable because this would immediately embroiled in in a war with the u.s. the national government could
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apologetically claim its powerlessness over this extensive arms trade, even though its own policies encouraged and protected it. all of this helps accelerate the trade to haiti late in the decade. they imported something on the order of 30,000 muskets just for his own forces in haiti. by the time napoleon sent a french army of tens of thousands of veterans to regain control of the island in 1802, they understood that acquiring these arms, taking these arms away from all of the people on the island, was the number one imported job. they estimated there were probably about 110,000 muskets in the hands of former slaves. yellow fever famously devastated napolean's army, of course, but guns and in emissions enabled black insurgents to drive them out of the country altogether. the leader of the french expedition, right at the moment of his defeat, he says "it is the americans who brought the muskets, the canons, the gunpowder, all of these
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munitions. i am entirely convinced that americans formed the plane to promote the independence of the antilles because they want to enjoy a monopoly to the trade." all the while, anxious spanish administrators are watching all of this. they are getting more and more nervous. in 1806, spain's secretary of state looked upon the ruin of haiti, which used to be the most wealthy slave colony in the world. he prophesized that trades with the black rebels would have "fatal consequences for all the nations in this part of the world." and indeed, only four years later starting in 1810, dozens of emissaries from mexico and south america began arriving in washington, new york, new orleans, philadelphia, baltimore, looking for guns and ammunition. but mostly, american merchants just came to them. as in the case of haiti, there are several hundred american ships trading with spanish-american ports on the
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eve of the uprising. and one scholar, at northwestern university, conservatively estimates that the west spent hundreds of tons of powder and at least 160,000 muskets in south america during the wars for independence. i think this is probably a dramatic underestimate. once the napoleonic wars ended, there were vast amounts of war material on hand throughout europe that was auctioned off in huge quantities. treaty obligations forbade great britain from sending any of this directly to spanish america. and unlike the u.s., great and unlike the u.s., great britain actually had the ability to police their ports. not a lot went out. the american traders could sell this and then send it onto spanish america. british customs records revealed that the u.k. exported nearly
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a quarter million guns to the u.s. just in five years, 1815-1820. a huge, ultimately unknowable, but huge percentage of these must have gone towards the fight for spanish american independence in the early 1820's. so whether through its own growing productive capacity or through re-exporting european weapons, the u.s. became the arms mart to the hemisphere. but crucially, the u.s. never offers terms remotely as generous as those it had received from france in its own war for independence. no massive, easy loans from the government, no secret state programs to equip insurgent armies, and certainly, no declarations of war in support of other people's wars for independence. if the u.s. had the immense advantage of fighting its war for independence wholesale, haitians and spanish-american had to fight theirs retail. revolution retail meant making
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deals wherever and whenever possible, something that inhibited central planning and fostered insurgent factionalism. and rivalry. revolution retail meant longer and broadly corrosive wars. and revolution retail inhibited decisive, final outcomes, prolonging antagonism with former imperial masters and fueling a ruinous militarism in many postcolonial states throughout hemisphere. finally, the liberation of the hemispheric arms market didn't simply make guns more available to anti-colonial insurgents. they made guns more widely available to insurgents of all kinds. war material wasn't the only thing that europe's mercantile dam was holding back from the americas. the 19th century would be far
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less politically stable than the 18th. and the arms dealing that both encouraged and fed off this instability traded foreign capital throughout latin america. new independent states needed arsenals in order to govern effectively. but except for the u.s., no colonial state constructed its own significant form industry in the century after independence. that means they had to turn to the market. at first, most of the states did so broke and exhausted after a decade of war. consequently, they took out large loans, mostly from foreign banks. inability to repay these loans on times or at all could lead to a problem of sovereign impulse that give foreign capitalists and investors extraordinary leverage over desperate governments. meanwhile, would be insurgents looking to capture fragile states had fewer resources than
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the states themselves. and they invariably had to court foreign patrons to obtain war material. insurgents throughout the 19th century traveled hat in hand to cities in north america looking for patrons to help them fight the war that would put them in power. in return, these would be patrons were often offered steeply discounted national bonds, shares of future customs revenue, mining privileges, lucrative government contracts, and ultimately of course railroad contracts. these are often tied up with the arms trade. so as historians of the western hemisphere refocus on the emergence of capitalism, this immense capacity to retard as well as encourage freedom, to reconfigure the domestic
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hierarchies and to destroy as well as create, we ought to take a cue from our subjects and pay lesser attention to where the guns are going. thank you very much. [applause] would live coverage of the on c-span and the senate on c-span two, we can't let that coverage by showing you the most relevant public affairs events. on weekends, c-span3 is the home includingn history tv six unique series. the civil war's history, history artifacts, the presidency, the heavy policy and legacies of commanders in chief, -- looking at the policy and legacy of commanders in chief, and our new series reel america, featuring
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archival films. c-span3, created by the cable tv hd, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter. >> over the next five hours, "american history tv" looks back 70 years to the august 1945 comics of hiroshima and nagasaki , japan. years ago on july 16, 1945. the first atomic bomb was tested near los alamos, new mexico. and a few weeks later, atomic bombs were dropped on hiroshima and nagasaki, japan. next on "reel america," "the moment in time." the year 2000, which tells the story of the race to create the bomb. this hour-long


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