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tv   The Presidency Abraham Lincoln  CSPAN  January 15, 2018 12:00am-1:21am EST

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the autobiography of religious development, looking at -- we can see that this was -- these were the forces that shaped him. >> you can watch the entire lecture on dr. martin luther king jr.'s early years this coming monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, here on american history tv. x up next, on the presidency, host three group authors who discussed various aspects of abraham lincoln's life and career. this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> welcome to the december meeting of the lincoln group of the district of columbia. the lincoln group was formed in the 1930's to honor the
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memories, the legacy, the principles of abraham lincoln for over 80 years we've had programs like this with outside speakers and our own members. and today, we are very pleased to have three of the members of the lincoln group of d.c. who have authored books related to the life and times of abraham lincoln. each of our speakers will talk for about 15 minutes, and then the three will gather here and have an opportunity to take your questions. so keep your questions that you have in mind for the first and second speaker, or after the third speaker. i will introduce them briefly. all three of them. and then have an opportunity to say a few more words about each as they begin their talks. the first book is a biography of
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lincoln, subtitled "the man who saved america." and it is for the general reader. as the author, david kent, will show, has some astonishing illustrations. the second book, by elizabeth smith brownstein, an experienced washington journalists, talks about what is today called president lincoln's cottage. it was the other white house for lincoln and mary lincoln during three of the summers that they were occupying the white house the rest of the year. a third is carl adams, who has just moved to the washington, d.c. area from illinois, where he did landmark research on the case of a young slave named nance or nancy, who was freed as the result of a lawsuit filed by abraham lincoln on her behalf, and his book is written for the young reader.
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so without further ado, let me introduce david kent, who is one of the vice presidents of the lincoln group of d.c., who is a former scientist who has turned to writing, and is well-known for his biographies of scientists. especially, nikola tesla, but also on edison, thomas edison. so let's hear from david kent. [applause] david: thank you, john. and thanks for everybody being here. this is a great crowd. like john said, my name is david j. kent.
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and my book is called "lincoln: the man who saved america." this is a book very different from pretty much every other lincoln book you have read in the course of your studies about abraham lincoln. and that's on purpose. the reason is, as a scientist and as an historian, it has become very clear in recent years that even though we spend a lot of time studying this time period and studying lincoln that the general public does not have a very good understanding of lincoln. you would think that they would, but they really do not, and it has come out in the last election, and with the controversy over the confederate monuments, whether they should stay or go. there are a lot of people who have a very faulty understanding of that time period. >> [indiscernible] david: ok.
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so, the idea is that i would try to reach out to all of those people who are not reading all of the books that we read. people in this room probably read dozens of books about abraham lincoln. maybe hundreds of books about abraham lincoln. i read 20 to 30 abraham lincoln books a year. the general public does not. they generally do not read. [laughter] david: very much at all. it's a fact of life. we are very graphic-oriented society now. we have twitter and instagram and facebook and computer games and big-screen tv's. everyone is very graphic-oriented. when you get to these scholarly
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books, they are only reaching other lincoln scholars. if you are really fortunate, you can reach a larger percentage of the audience, but not the general public. i do this in three different ways. so, the first way, the most obvious way, is if you just flip through it, you can see all sorts of graphics. graphics grab peoples' eye. all these books with the same except for the covers. they are all 500 pages of text, and maybe there is a few photographs in the middle. so i did not want to do that. i wanted to put lots and lots of graphics in these books, so that is what i have done. i will show you some examples. every page, basically, with text, has some sort of traffic. -- some sort of graphic. like in this, i am talking about lincoln's early life. so here is a picture of a log cabin and a drawing of the people moving west, like the lincolns did. in the test, i talk about lincoln's trips down to new orleans.
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well, here is a picture of a flatboat and lincoln on the flatboat, which kind of remind people and reinforces that lecture. photography was in its infancy at this point. there were not many photographers, especially early on, but there are photographs of thomas lincoln in the top left corner there. and the bottom is mary lincoln, so there were photographs taken later on in lincoln's nice, when photography started becoming more common. the picture on the top right is a hand drawing. this is mordecai lincoln. he only plays a very small role in the book, but it is an important role because he was the one who shot the killer of their father and saved thomas lincoln's life when he was only six years old. if he had not saved thomas
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lincoln's life when he was six years old, there would be no abraham lincoln. even if there is some family, he did save abraham lincoln. who knows who this picture is of? nancy hanks lincoln. nancy hanks lincoln. there is no photographs of nancy hanks lincoln. this is a picture taken of her based on a description. did we know she looked like this? no. if you look at some of the other descriptions of nancy lincoln in the informants volume, you'll see that there are other people who describe her in a very different way. she was not quite so pretty. she was shorter. she was a little lighter. does she look like this?
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we don't know. this gives an idea of what she might have looked like and sort of personalizes somebody who often gets talked about very quickly and then you move on to the stepmother. of course, lincoln himself was one of the first -- he was a first mover. he got into photography early on. he understood why that could be important, so this is an early photograph of abraham lincoln. very famous photograph taken when he was still very young. but that is not just photographs. one of the coolest things about this is there are all sorts of graphics. he became a fan of pop culture, so this is what i would have called a comic book, but now, it is called a graphic novel. a graphical biography. but basically, in very colorful -- it shows him receiving the
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information that he has been nominated by the republican party for president. another part of that shows earlier in his life where he was rowdier, fighting with the clary's grove boys. and his nature with -- is more fun nature with kids. putting their footprints on the ceiling. >> [indiscernible] david: what's that? i think these are all from around 1959. there was a lot done for the sesquicentennial of his birth. there were also, at this time, photographs where in the infancy -- photographs were not being put in newspapers like they are now, but they would have these
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woodcut etchings, and they would ink them and print them in the newspaper. a lot of these types of political cartoons, political commentary through cartoons. so i have included some of these throughout the book. when i talk, for example, about lincoln and the gettysburg address -- everyone in this room memorized the gettysburg address. i don't know if they still do that in schools. apparently not. but you can read about the gettysburg address and then see lincoln giving the gettysburg address, so the visuals really reinforce what is in the text. another picture -- this is a two-page, both sides, when it is open, and it shows lincoln seeing his first slave auction, and you see the slaves being auctioned off here, and lincoln, look at his face, looking pretty angry. dennis hanks had said this is where lincoln really first got angry about slavery and he said "if i get a chance, i am going to get rid of slavery."
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whether that actually happened is debatable. dennis hanks was not the best witness for some of these things, but it does reinforce, when you're talking about the slave auctions, it gives that visual and reinforces the understanding. i would ask you who this is, but it says at the bottom, so dred scott -- we always talk about the decision. the decision by the supreme court where the chief justice, roger, came out and said not only could dred scott be not considered a freeman -- he could not even be considered a citizen, and he had no rights at all, that any white man was bound to respect. he said you are not even human anymore. you are substandard human. we always talk about the
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decision but we never talk about dred scott himself. you don't really get a picture of him. this shows dred scott, he is an intelligent, educated man. a literate man who fought through the courts for his own freedom, you know, and ended up losing, and becoming a famous court case, but it's important to talk about him as a person, you know? the humanity of it. these graphics bring it out. there is one more graphic from the book to read this is another double-page graphic that is basically "uncle sam wants you" recruitment poster to get ex slaves and freed blacks to fight for the union army. a lot of people will look at this picture and move on to the next page, but you can actually learn a lot just looking at this
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one picture. for one thing, you look at all the faces on their, and they are almost this uniform, deep, dark, black, with a white artist putting racial prejudice into the picture. you can see there is a little kid, a drummer boy, and you realize, wait a second. there are kids, nine years old to 10 years old, who were sent out into the army, in the same conditions the army was put into to play the drums, to keep the cadence for marches. you can also see that even though they are being asked to join the union army, they are in a separate, a whole separate division, the united states colored troops. people were not too keen necessarily for equality. they were kept separate. they were not integrated into the white regiments. but at the same time, they were saying "we can't have black officers. we have to have a white officer,
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because you know, we don't think that you really could do the job same as a white officer." plus, they are all getting paid less than the white folders. few can see that even though there was some progress after the emancipation proclamation, and black soldiers did fight in the war on the north side, they were not treated as equals right away, and still today. so, you can get a lot of information. i have one more picture i will show you. this is not in the book, but i really like this picture. [laughter] david: marvel comics in 2009 put out a special spiderman issue that features abraham lincoln, and so, here he is. he is going out to fight against the gettysburg distress. he is rolling up his sleeves and handing his jacket and hat to spiderman and the captain america and saying "thanks for holding my stuff, boys, while i go out and save america."
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i said, that's not a bad thing to do, save america. that is a graphic that reinforces that, even though that is not in the book. i tried to do that in this book, use the graphics to reinforce the text. now, let me talk a little bit about the text. there are three different ways that this is being used to reach out to a broader audience you're one is the graphics. the second is the text. the idea is to write this as very accessible. a lot of the books that we read, they are very scholarly. they are very academic. they are published by university presses, a lot of them. now, to the lay public and the general public, scholarly and academic translate into boring and dry. you know, a lot of people, based
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on sales figures, a lot of people are not reading the scholarly tomes that we love. they don't have broad division, except for occasionally, there will be some, but most of them don't. the idea is to write this so it is not dry, so it is not boring, so that there are stories and the writing style is to reach out to more people. now, i don't mean dumbing down by any stretch of the imagination. i'm not dumbing it down. there is a lot of information in here, but it is basically citing the information in an a storyline that people can enjoy so that they actually learn a lot more. certainly, they will learn more from this than a thick book they are not reading. i will give you a quick example
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of the writing style, just a little fun part. i talk about the lincoln-douglas debates. picture them on the podium getting ready to have a three-hour debate on the field, and i write "the optics of the debates were almost comical. lincoln was as tall and thin as the list was short and wide. douglas tended towards inflammatory language, while lincoln was calmer. lincoln was honest abe. douglas often arrived in town on a special train. lincoln rode coach. douglas was prone to histrionics, dogmatic exclamations, blatant pandering to white superiority, and lying without remorse. i'm talking about the lincoln-douglas debates, not last year's elections. [laughter] lincoln focused on making his key points clear to the often-large crowds." i talked to a lot of people. i knew this book would be well taken by the general public, but i have actually had a lot of lincoln scholars tell me that they really like it, too. and between the pictures and the
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writing, it is a different way of presenting the information. you have the graphics, the text, and the third way is simply the price. i worked with this publisher, and i am still amazed how they do this. you can buy this from barnes & noble for $10. i wish they would sell it for twice as much, because i would make more money. they sell it for $10, so people can afford to buy it. i will go into barnes & noble, and they will say there is a book. for one of the more scholarly books, you can buy two of these 45. -- for five dollars. [laughter] david: people tell me that they buy multiple books and donate them to the libraries. the one good thing is the writing is for adults, but it is
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very accessible, and because of all the graphics, it obviously appeals a lot to the younger set who are always looking at graphics on their phones and everything. so, it does have a broad appeal. let me wrap this up real quick. i will just read two little pieces to one from the very beginning of the prologue, and my last lines from the very end of the book. a picture of lincoln giving his first inaugural address. it says "on march 4, 1861, abraham lincoln stood beneath the unfinished dome of the united states capital, gazing over the gathered crowd with melancholy and trepidation. erection of the new cast-iron dome. begun six years earlier to replace the wooden one. rebuilding the nation. lincoln was apprehensive, unsure if he could accomplish all that awaited him." now flashforward wiped her years, the second inaugural. "as lincoln gave his second four years.rward
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"as lincoln gave his second inaugural address, a 20 foot tall bronze statue of freedom powered atop the newly completed cast-iron dome of the capital. lincoln had saved america, but he also had a bit of a message for us in the future. today, his legacy demand that americans ensure that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth." with that, thank you very much. [applause] john: thank you, david. our next speaker, elizabeth smith brownstein, is the secretary of the board of the lincoln group of d.c. as i said, she is a longtime washington journalists and began work on this book when it was not possible to visit what is today called president lincoln's cottage.
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she completed it just at the time that president lincoln's cottage was being opened to the public. she can talk to you now about what memories you would be able to relive if you had an opportunity, as you do today, to visit president lincoln's cottage. elizabeth. [applause] elizabeth: well, how is it that i came to write this book? richard moe, who was one of the main drivers behind the renovation, the restoration of the lincoln cottage, invited me to lunch and invited me to write this book. he said i'm the only one who can
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write this book, which i thought was a rather nice complement. i couldn't have said no, because my first book "if this house could talk," was very successful. david mccullough, with whom i worked for some years, called me and said "you have caught john adams exactly, elizabeth." and he wrote to the editor and said "this book is not only a wonderful book about the country, but for the country." well, that was kind of nice to hear. [laughter] elizabeth: he is a marvelous man, by the way. so, what was the challenge? and here it is. it is the only site in the country that encapsulates lincoln's life experience as father, husband, commander in chief, greatest and most beloved president. it is the only place left to offer fresh insight into his startling physical appearance, his unusual temperament, the idiosyncratic leadership, and the intensity and breadth of his personal and political
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relationships. it would be the last time the lincoln would share together. it is a missing link in the study of his presidency. who could resist a challenge like that? i couldn't. well, was it worth it? was it worth living two years like a nun? that is the way i write my books. one anonymous reviewer is on the internet and said it is a little gem in the plethora of information about lincoln. another fellow lincoln scholar said "no lincoln devotee can consider his or her education complete without lincoln's other white house, a lovely read, and a unique contribution to the lincoln literature." well, that is the kind of thing you do like to hear. there are some recurring adjectives in people's response to my book. i suppose i should say here that i am a bit defensive because i
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spent most of my career in tv, and i daresay, a lot of you people wonder about the qualifications of somebody who has done that. [laughter] elizabeth: pardon me if i seem a little bit defensive. anyway, vivid is a word that comes to people's minds. jeffrey ward used the word "vivid" when he talked about the book. "distinctive" is another word people love. "history with a twist," one reviewer wrote. what really threw me is when i was on a tour of the cottage and someone said "it is a fun read." i consider myself a bluestocking. when i heard that, i was surprised. but anyway, i have heard that from other members of the lincoln group. "it's a fun read. it's easy to read. it's effortless." one critic said "elizabeth, it's
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a little bit of this and a little bit of that." well, he missed the point, actually. [laughter] elizabeth: i was not interested, frankly, in writing about political minutia, i was not interested in writing about politica. strategy. i leave that to others who are devoted to that. my principal guide's freshness. i love it when people say "i did not know that." so despite the shortness of the chapters, there is a lot of meat in each one, and i hope people will appreciate that. as i said, this reflects my training in the television world. every world and television is a careful installation of extensive study, years of research.
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a perfect example, number 10 downing street, ready to interview the prime minister. "what's that poem?" i was having to revise his introduction. well, i was able to do that. and so, television, of course, is a visual medium, and so, i write in images. perhaps i write in metaphors. mary lincoln, for example, the most wonderful image of mary lincoln, at the window of her bedroom at the cottage, looking out every morning when she would see lincoln leaving for the white house, wondering of course whether he would ever come back. there's another lovely image of lincoln's big toe emerging from his hole in his stocking as he would wiggle it around talking to heaven knows who, his visitors to the lincoln cottage. there is another lovely image of
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stanton. yes? >> [indiscernible] elizabeth: my goodness, that's what i was afraid of. [laughter] elizabeth: sorry about that. there is another lovely image of stanton and lincoln at the lincoln cottage, trying to unfasten the peacocks that the men of the soldiers had used to fasten the peacocks to the branches of the trees, because they were escaping and bothering lincoln's boy and stanton's children also. there is a lovely metaphor for the two of them who were dealing with the anguish of the war. i have more to say about stanton in a few minutes. i wanted people to get some smells in my writing. washington was called the city of stink at that time. i don't know whether you knew that or not. the images and smells of the things that would flow by the white house were absolutely appalling.
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in fact, there was some talk at one point of sure the white house move away from the white house? and in fact, they were looking at a site near the soldiers home, which was higher, cooler, healthier. obviously, that never happened,. when lincoln was assassinated, the white house became an icon of his martyrdom. scholars have confirmed my concept of brevity, but careful installation of the essence. here is what jean baker had to say. "elizabeth brownstein promises new material and perspectives beyond the familiar and she delivers." now, i have my mentor, william lee miller, whom i adored, who was very helpful to me throughout my writing career. this is what he wrote. he referred to the book as
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containing "many surprise treasures." and he says "this valuable, enjoyable, and unusual book is loaded with anecdotes, characters, poems, episodes, parodies, humorous facts one did not know." can you imagine him saying that? "a lively presentation of the domestic lincoln and of the place he spent 13 months of his presidency. i read it with profit and pleasure and recommend it highly." and p.s., "all true." here is new content that i don't think other writers deal with at all. there was a real contest during the civil war for a new national anthem. the star-spangled banner was thought to be difficult in a
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variety of ways, so one of these ones that lincoln loved was a parody on the search for a new national anthem. if you remember studies of longfellow and aldrich and so on, and these are parodies on how all of these gentlemen would have submitted a text for a new national anthem. $500 was the reward and nobody ever won. there is the most beautiful war poem in my book. walt whitman, whom i really never cared particularly for, wrote something called "pensive on her dead gazing." i guarantee you will cry when you read that. something else you probably all know, lincoln's reading of these dreadful, humorous -- used to drive stanton crazy. balderdash and so forth. i finally read something that i thought was extremely telling, which most writers do not, about
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the dimension that this was a morale-builder to the union troops when one of them would talk about the confederates wanting to get hold of the union soldiers' outfits. this is something that presumably made the union soldiers feel that they were really on the winning side. there is a whole chapter, short chapter, on lincoln's interest in weaponry. i came across a book about the subject that came out in 1956, so i thought it was well worth trying to encapsulate a little bit about lincoln -- he was described as his own r&d. there is another thing i did, which really makes me feel very nice. tad lincoln is usually regarded as something of a dimwit.
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he did not write, he could not read. there is a wonderful description by brooks in my chapter about what kind of a guy he was, how smart tad was, how he knew the value of money coming to the habits of animals. he was wonderful. my take on the lincoln cottage is that it was not a sanctuary. i have two chapters. -- and lincoln's achilles' heel. there is a biography, looking for the worst in people. i think the find, altogether, too much of that. i was not interested in that kind of biography. i am not a pollyanna by any means. i am sort of a contrary in purity somebody says this, i -- i'm sort of a contrarian. i like to think maybe that is worth considering. joseph ellis, the revolutionary period historian, said "elizabeth seems to know everybody she writes about personally," and i thought that was kind of nice. mcculloch called me after
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reading my chapter on john adams in my first book and he said "elizabeth, you got the man exactly right," and i was very pleased about that. you know -- i was in new orleans. i got an impression of butler. this raised my hackles. you all know he is the man who thought about the phrase "contraband." ok. well, what else did he do in new orleans? new orleans was filthy. it had yellow fever every year. he cleaned up. he cleaned up new orleans spirit he desegregated the public transportation system. the beast came out because he threatened to jail the women, the lovely women of new orleans, as streetwalkers, because they
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were abusing that. there is an epitaph at the end of my short chapter by charles dana about benjamin butler. he had many flaws, obviously, but he was very much a person for the underdog. as the governor of massachusetts, he did a great many things. he managed to figure out a way to get money to pay ex-slaves for their labor in new orleans. i think i have tried to balance a little bit the impression of him as beast butler. edwin stanton, another one. i don't know how many of you read the archives some months ago. this biographer, kaplan commented on hatchet job on edwin stanton. it made my blood boil. i understand that kaplan does that frequently. and so, at the end of my chapter
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on edwin stanton, i have a don hays letter to edwin stanton after lincoln was killed, about what edwin stanton meant to lincoln. you know, there is that story about somebody coming in and saying "mr. president, edwin stanton just called me a damn fool." and he said "he is probably right." his son said later that lincoln and stanton had an agreement, actually, sort of a good cop/bad cop kind of thing. lincoln would do what he could to smooth over things. he would leave it up to stanton to really, you know, lay down the laws. as i said, edwin stanton said "no" for the nation. here is another instance. i devote a short chapter to montgomery. i was invited to do jury duty.
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i arrived at the pension building and i have never seen such a glorious interior space in my life. huge, four-story, white columns. i said "who on earth designed that building?" it was montgomery meigs. i could not find a biography about him. there is one called "second only to grant," and that caught my attention. but i wanted to tell you a few things that were said about montgomery meigs which seemed to indicate a man of tremendous integrity, and it was awfully nice to read that there are still such people around. let me see. yeah, stanton. this is what stanton said about montgomery meigs.
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he said he signed his name to a blank piece of paper and meigs could write above it what he would. general sherman said "the handwriting of this report is that of general meigs, and i approve it, but i can't read it." [laughter] elizabeth: so that is integrity. now, the last thing -- how am i doing, john? no one has waved anything yet. it is about the lincoln marriage. i don't know whether you were present when i gave this talk a little while ago. and a scholar who shall remain nameless said "do not believe a word she says about the lincoln marriage." it was horrible. you can imagine how i felt about that. [laughter] elizabeth: i, at that point, did not feel i could contradict this distinguished scholar. i should have just said "here is a copy of my book. please, please, please read it." [laughter]
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elizabeth: the tide is turning towards mary. james mcpherson i think to agree, thank goodness. here are some things i mentioned in my chapter on the lincoln marriage. a young man who was a friend of the lincolns in springfield, they were in harmony on the larger affairs in their lives. elizabeth blair lee, who knew the lincolns very well. mary has her husband's deepest love. this is a matter on which one woman cannot deceive another. and this kind of positive interpretation of their marriage goes on and on and on. now, she was no picnic, and neither was lincoln, i have to tell you. [laughter]
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elizabeth: with regard to mary's hanky-panky on money, what woman has not had to resort to subterfuge to steal a few pennies from her husband's pocket? she did the same thing, i think. i refer briefly to medical analyses of mary lincoln's health, and i favor the one which you can read about in the journal of the history of medicine by two medical historians who saw the last medical report done by four prominent physicians of the day of mary lincoln, and they came to the conclusion that mary lincoln was suffering from untreated diabetes for many, many years. they did not know what diabetes was, john, i think, even at that point. she had all these symptoms which made people think she was absolutely a nut, you know? gouging out her eyes, she could not stand light.
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these apparently are all recognized today as symptoms of untreated diabetes, etc. so as i said, the tide is turning towards mary. richard norton smith said something which i fully agree with. he said "without mary, there would have been no abe." she could have married stephen a. douglas. somebody said she was engaged to him. she saw lincoln and she said "that's the guy for me." she saw his greatness. so anyway, that is my book, and it is called -- what's it called? [laughter] elizabeth: my first book is called "if this house could talk." this book is called "lincoln's other white house." it has a few actors, david. it has several pictures which we have not seen anywhere else. i asked you to use your imagination with these metaphors
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and images i have throughout the book, and i think that will help you decide whether or not i met the challenge of meeting the cottage. thank you. [applause] john: thank you, elizabeth. it was 1.5 years, maybe two years, ago that i discovered that there was this gentleman from my hometown of illinois, near peoria, who had done groundbreaking work into the original documents from lincoln's day as a lawyer regarding the case in which lincoln was able to free a young woman from slavery. and i was eager to bring him into the lincoln group of d.c.,
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and it's a great pleasure to give carl adams an an opportunity to talk about his book about nance. carl: good afternoon. please, before everyone leaves today, pick up a copy. >> ok. carl: it is actually the true story of nance. it's not really about lincoln. lincoln makes four appearances, but it is about the first slave he encountered in court. before you leave today, make sure you have a copy of nance's webpage. the book on the website are totally different. the book was for students. intentionally for middle school
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and high school students. that is the reason why we deliberately kept it at about 100 pages. i did not want to scare them off with a 300 page volume. for students, that is important. "get me a thin book." that really was important, students. basically, this presentation features mostly primary source documents, because i realized i was speaking in a room of historians and journalists, and they want to see primary source documents. they don't really care about another picture of abraham lincoln. they had seen him before. but the webpage has very little primary source documents should i just added thumbnails of the people and some of the documents that were involved in the trials of nance, which covered almost 15 years. nance's case went to court at least six times. the only way she got her day in court was through a habeas
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corpus case. i was not going to try to explain habeas corpus to kids. she has to have a hearing in court to determine the conditions of her confinement. that's what habeas corpus is. so the rest of these are primary source documents. they will be a little hard to read. they are going to cover 50 pages, 50 years. 50 years in less than 15 minutes. that is going to be a little hard to do, so please listen fast. [laughter] carl: basically, this is the registry of negros and mulatoos. this is a carryover of the territory law. the early months of illinois. illinois had only been a territory for four months. over here, you see the single
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names. george, bob. over here is a list of the owners who registered them. something very unusual about this. it just so happened that this gentleman proved to be nance's father. his name is totally different from his owner's name, green. very unusual that a slave had a name other than the owner. they must've had mutual respect for each other because nathanael greene owned greene's ferry. he must have trusted him. he scooted off. randall, who was then married to the young lady on the line, both registered on the next line. both registered. she was 26 years of age, and therefore, a woman of childbearing age. you also know how they describe
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them. nance's parents were consistently described as black. all the census records also showed that her children were consistently black as well as her husband. so now, we've got randall from the illinois territorial records who came from cape gerardo, missouri, and the other side of the river was illinois, and it was closest to john, illinois, down in union county. in 1813, nathanael greene died. his sons prepared an estate. and they evaluated the value of randall and annaka, and they had a son named ruben. they were appraised at $700. a man called thomas cox was willing to pay $70 more.
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if you want to gauge dollar values in those days, multiply that figure times 20. he bought a house plot for $14.50. the comparison of price ranges, this was a very expensive purchase. thomas cox, who was a land speculator, a director of the state bank, and he was also an inspector of the salt mines, which was an important defense industry. as well as that, he was a registrar of the land office as well as building the first four businesses inside them on county, illinois. he also founded four capital cities. he was commissioned to be a founder of the second r vandalia and explored north into
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springfield to make springfield the third capital a state of illinois, all of which did well. after he went bust and had to start over again, he founded the capital city of iowa, iowa city, iowa. here is a contract. thomas cox to william worsen. he bought the sleeves as collateral to borrow money. in this case, he borrowed $400 from the merchant prince, william worsen, randall, his wife, and their three-year-old son. the reason cox was willing to pay more for the family is because it was pretty obvious that nance's mother was pregnant and she was going to have another baby in four to five months. you can see the age, "a female about two months old." that proved to be nance. all the subsequent census records point to the fact that nance was born in 1813.
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this was signed in 1814 by thomas cox. so if his random guesstimate was correct, nance was a christmas baby, 1813. now, where was, thomas cox's territory? he was a land speculator and registrar at the land office. he bought them down here near cape girardeau, missouri. and then from there, he moved back to his hotel, columbia, where he started a boarding house for senators, judges, lawyers, and set them up. he was a high-end boardinghouse, and he advertised. the first advertising newspaper. he always had a fine supply of the finest european liquor. he was given a commission in 1819 to be a founder of the second capital of illinois. you can see the dotted line is a surveyor's line.
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the only condition is that it had to be on the east side of the surveyor's meridian line, so he got just across the mine and built vandalia. in 1819, 1820, he built the hotel columbia diagonally across the street from the second illinois capitol building in vandalia. after that settled down in 1822, thomas cox built the first four businesses inside them in sangamon county. the problem with that was, he borrow $500. it is stupid to borrow $500 and forget to pay it back. he forgot a lot of his mortgages. one of the four businesses he built was a commercial grade distillery. he became his own best customer. needless to say, it did not take
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long before he had an alcohol soaked brain and he forgot to pay peter or pay paul. he forgot to pay them both. well, in the transit from vandalia appear, there was a riverboat town. in 1824, thomas cox met a newcomer to the state whom he discovered to be an exceptionally rich man. so he borrowed even more money from a gun seller named nathaniel cromwell junior. when nathaniel cromwell junior moved from naples into springfield, he got together with the sheriff and they both discovered thomas cox had overextended his credit. they both sued him. and the one thing that thomas cox repeatedly put up for collateral were his slave property.
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so he put nance and her younger sister up for collateral, and when he went under, you can read it here. the following property, a negro girl named nance for $151, and her younger sister for $150, as well as featherbed and pillows -- his wife was not happy about that -- he mortgaged that for $11. down here, nine head of cattle and a calf for $89.50. to give you a price comparison, nance was worth twice as much more as nine head of cattle. you can see his name, thomas cox. he gave an exact date. 1827, 7:00 a.m., by county coroner john howard. they foreclosed. he seized all of cox's property. the problem with matt was they did not have -- with that was
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that she resisted. she did not want to go. she did not want to be removed from the only home she had ever known. logically. but she was a slave. she was supposed to do what she was told. she would not. so she was shackled, tied, severely beaten to the point that tom cox testified that her life was greatly despaired of, and she was thrown in a lawn shed for at least six days. during that time, the winnebago war erupted, and governor edwards sent a message to springfield to mobilize a militia. 500 men from sangamon county to go fight the winnebagos in galena, illinois.
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sangamon became a virtual ghost town. since coroner howard and sheriff john taylor were responsible for riding throughout the county, gathering up all of these people, nance was left in the salt house. she was locked up in the shed. there was no guarantee she had adequate food and water. it is no wonder that grandmother cox, whose testimony is on the board, grandmother jane cox testified she became quite sick whilst confined. no wonder. here we have nance's testimony, and this is what makes nance historical. she never before or since -- make any contract to serve howard in any way, shape, or form. illinois had indenture contracts, not the slavery of the south. slaves had to be taken before a judge and said "sign this indenture contract for room, board, shoes."
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nance testified "i never agreed to any indenture contract, and never signed it." that's what she said. "i never agreed to serve him in any way, manner, or form." and this restrained her personal liberty. by him, against her will and content. that's what the contract was about. nance herself was illiterate. she did not put us in this format. she could not find her own name. so the justice of the peace down here was the one who put it in the correct format, in his name, edward mitchell, who also just so happened to be thomas cox's brother-in-law. now, she therefore praised the court that further proceedings may be had by which material facts may be ascertained. again, she would not have used that type of vocabulary.
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they may conduct a full and fair hearing of this cause of harm, which she hopes to be discharged and released from the illegal restraint of cromwell. her signature, nance x. that man, nathaniel cromwell, was a descendent of the founder of the principal of american civil rights. he was a relative of oliver cromwell of england, who had charles the first executed. in his petition of right, 200 years before, it was to guarantee the civil right of due process of law. and so, here is a classic case of history clashing. he was from the family that created civil rights, and now, she is demanding that cromwell be brought back into court, and she appear in court for african civil rights in an american courtroom. so this is -- and unfortunately,
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i rehearsed this on my ipad, where i can expand this and zoom in. i can't. it says "supreme court term, december 1827." this was nance's case in 1827. misrepresented. nance, a woman of color, by her next friend, thomas cox, versus john howard, for assault, trespass, and false imprisonment. the problem that cox had was that he represented to the courts as a woman. how does the judge to know whether or not a young woman is a woman or a girl? her shape. and the judge apparently did not
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quite believe that. so he ordered john howard to return to where nance had been registered back in illinois, randolph county, which was over 100 miles away. they had to delay the court until they had proof that nance was born in illinois, rather than another state, because the laws would have been different, and what her age was. when nance was beaten and locked in the salt chest, she was 13 years old. nance, a girl of color, not a woman of color, can be sold on execution. so there, they are saying that nance can be sold, and that would give a supreme court precedent for indentured servitude for the next 10 years. a slave who challenged that again 10 years later was no one other than nance herself. bailey versus cromwell, with the help of abraham lincoln. they realized nance would be
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more respectable to the court if she was a married woman since she already had two infant girls. and one month before, she cap birth and she gave birth to a son named william henry. she married a free black men from southern illinois. the last time we got together -- i gave in those educated answer i could, i said yes.
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