tv Lectures in History The Continental Army CSPAN July 7, 2019 12:00pm-1:11pm EDT
tube. make sure you get it all the way down. your rammer. don't lose it. don't leave it in there, either. you can watch this and other american history programs on our site, where all our video is archived. next, -- that is c-span.org/history. lectures in history, william woods university professor craig smith teaches a class about the american revolution and the continental army. he describes how the force differed from the british military in demographics, organizations, and officer selection process. he also talked about the significance of military operations in the northern colonies.
>> welcome, everyone, to another exciting adventure in the history of war. today, we have gotten to the army, so welcome to all of you and welcome to many of our new students watching from who knows where. today, we are going to focus on the continental army. we are situating this very much in the broad history of war and the military. the continental army is different from other parties that preceded it. largely because it is one that is very much based on ideal and certain concepts and beliefs rather than your traditional army. so, what is the continental army? anyone? >> america. >> america, ok. the continental army base in america.
it will become the first united states army but before it is the u.s. army, it is the army of america. what elements of america? certainly, part of the american revolution. the united colonies. so, when does the continental army begin? it is not necessarily the start of the revolution. a couple classes ago, we were talking about the french and indian or. that was the world war that fundamentally altered several different nations, but primarily france, britain, and the british colonies. many americans had fought alongside british soldiers, british officers. what happenedcall when the groups and directed -- interacted?
a lot of ways, the british are looking down on the colonists for a number of reasons. and that was having to do with tactics, formal military training. some of it had to do with how they dressed. over's also a large aspect who holds the higher rank. a colonial officer outranking a british officer? the british officers of lower rank saying they have right. this infuriated a young george washington. so, our story begins after the french and indian war. so, who wants to give me the standard answer? what caused the american revolution? taxes. and give me the phrase. >> taxation without representation. >> or if you like taxation
without representation is tyranny. there, it is about rights, it is about being treated as a full british subject. it ultimately it falls -- evolves into violence. , theyis the support bill are going to shut down local government. is going to bring in martial law over boston. gage,itish, under thomas start seizing weapons, leading to increased tension. this will lead to a potential of gunpowder, maybe even arresting the sons of liberty, other revolutionary thinkers accent a lot of for john hancock. and what results?
is this. the shot heard round the world, maybe. we know that one of the first shots of the american revolution is fired when the british regulars meet up with colonial militiamen. shots are fired. who fires the first shots? the british say the colonists. who do the colonists say fired? the british. murderers. and it is from this that the more vegans. this is initially a militia unit. is basically any force between 16 and 60. they would train in traditional trappings, like the national guard today.
colonists do have some experience, more so than your average british soldier. they don't ever have formal military shots are fired. win, that this is a profound moment. thomas jefferson is going to refer to this very specifically as unprovoked murder. honoriolation of they an define the sacred obligations of treaties which even savage nations observed. that what theg british did, we didn't really provoke them, they just decided to kill us, but evens damages can comprehend that.
>> there is no ethics behind it, it is on the mentally immoral. what the british have done is something that is so barbaric over,his cannot be looked as a justification for the war. we talked briefly about the idea of a just war principle. and what makes a war just in almost every circumstance? it basically comes down to who attacks who. the americans are presenting ,hemselves as a defensive war which means they are in the right. largely based on a swiss philosopher who is very much
going to cast the correctness and immorality of the war based on who started it. start the war, it justifies american resistance. meanwhile, we get another battle. the americans are successful, even against more trained, skilled british regulars. why do you think this is? [indiscernible] >> you have to cross a true point, meaning numbers don't matter. and this is where you get the traditional shot heard round the world. americans, under orders, fire. at lexington, besides were ordered not to fire. so, when we think of american we probablyitiamen,
think of the romanticized notion of the minutemen. what are the minutemen? they are going to jump out of bed fully closed, grabbed their muskets, and run out, ready to write. the average muskets at the time takes a minute and a half to load. so, the idea is that they are fighting and what we would call guerrilla style. copying the native american style. why did the americans developed this style? they had to defend themselves against the native people that were living when they got there, so they had to adapt to their tactics. adapted over centuries. >> also, the british were not equipped to fight in that style of warfare, so they would be
marching in ranks. >> exactly. the british army is defeated by the french and the native allies using the same tactics. of british had higher numbers, so they had to adjust to accommodate that. >> they had to accommodate and adapt to that. the perception on the march back from concord is from the tree line. from hidden positions. -- like.posed flight if you think about this, the british army marches back after doing an immediate march from boston to the outskirts and marching back with limited ammunition. but what you will see on this map, you will see these marks.
there was actually a moment. the common, romanticized element of hiding behind trees, there are pitched battles. forcelly, it is going to the british to retreat the boston and defend themselves. ultimately, the british are going to attempt to take fortified colonial positions at bunker hill which, as every the americansws, lose, but they inflict heavy casualties. still, this is not the continental army. good have been pretty win-loss ratios. the idea that the british win, but lose heavy losses.
and it is this fighting in massachusetts that ultimately is going the unified response. the question is, is this america's war? the continental army is going to -- we are going to get george washington as commander-in-chief. he's going to say he's serving based on my country's honor and my own, which is very different than the young washington talked about in his early 20's, where he actually resigned his commission and he says for his own honor, and his country. the fundamental reversal of these roles, washington saying i am taking this up for duty to the nation, enhancing civilian life. he's saying, i don't function as a military dictator.
meanwhile, there some opposition. a lot of it comes from this man. charles lee. you might remember him. he is a general. british trained. trying to change his ranks to accumulate right. there are others as well. in a lot of respects he is british trained and he does not think the americans could win writing in a traditional european-style. he thinks the americans should be using this militia style. washington is fundamentally opposed to this. washington uses multiple styles what was your much trying to more on the traditional european-style. there are a few reasons why, and
one of them is reputation and house's would be used internationally. if they were fighting as other gentlemanly, civilized, it will be respected. if they are not, they may not gain support from other nations. so, there is this difference of opinion and they clash many times throughout the revolution. ultimately, washington will prove successful. anyway, washington is going to take command and he's going to meet the continental army in spring, 1775 at first, the two sides don't get along, particularly the militiamen of massachusetts. if you think back when we talk about early colonial warfare, the massachusetts militia in
particular elects their officers. in virginia, or washington is from, they were appointed. >> whoever is popular. it is any times, popularity contest rather than deal. and people are always going to order their friends. >> i feel like when you are voting on who is going in, i you like maybe more people don't run as much, they are going to do this because it seems cool. >> whoever would win is whoever eers orthe most b washington or whatever would happen. urge a certainto type of individual to be officer. nowadays, you have heard me ramble about this.
nowadays, every man is a general. century, it meant a man of honor, a man of bravery and power. and washington is saying if you are a gentleman, we can translate that to the military. a militaryhave academy, they don't have a professional army. so, who are your officers? no formal training. some had dealt with native things, but very limited overall. here are the british, trapped in boston. any of these elevated positions, colonial, theyan forced the british out. and the british are going to and the date of that
was actually two days ago. so, here is the big overarching map of the campaign. go from 1775ing to to 1783. if you are the british, what are your tactics? numbers. >> superior army, hands down. >> you want to get them to quit, cut them off. >> you are going to blockade the coast. then, the british are going to make another tactical decision. they believe that since the war has begun in massachusetts, if you cut off massachusetts, what do you stop? have you cut off massachusetts? >> you create a border, you cut them off from the ocean. >> you blockade them and?
>> the hudson river. >> to take new york and go of the hudson river. now, this is one of the worst kept military secrets. washington knows they are back there, the british know they are back there. so why are they back there? >> it's the only thing they can do. >> well, the british know that they have a good shot. in a lot of ways reluctant to defend his. because, what is the basic obligation of commander? >> to protect his people. >> and they don't do it, you are failing in attacking their citizens. the declaration of independence is read. and these are the reasons they are getting. for of the chief reasons breaking away from britain.
by declaring them out of his protection and waging war against us. so, how do you split with the king? breakup letter. he is no longer your king, he has done something wrong. americanse time, the are taking issue with the conduct of the war, particularly, the british are going to hire mercenaries. and are from a german state the popular belief as they are mercenaries fighting for money. say are actually the army rented out by their prince. there are fighting that they are fighting for their regular position. it is the principle is cashing in on this. so, the battle new york. does not go well. fact, numerous retreats.
here is washington's retreat from long island. difficult toely get across any body of water, but washington proves quite successful. british easily take new york and again, the continental army is forced to retreat literally crossing the bluffs. traditionally, a major defeat like this would be crushing to a war. crushing to recommender. but how washington interprets this end uses this to fundamentally change the way we look at the military and warfare. how does he do that? well, he studies. never went to formal school. how do most american officers learn to become officers? other than a handful who have been trained by the british.
how do they learn? they get a book. two of your most successful , both sold books. making it a little simplistic, henry knox becomes head of artillery because you read a book about it. they are going to these military text to learn how to be officers and soldiers. which truen upon honor, the idea of this ethical basis. consists in the constant practice of virtue and the duty of the soldier. welldea that, if you act in a battle or in a campaign, you are doing your duty, you can receive honor. it used to be that honor was only for the victor.
james wolf, who had been a british general who died during the french and indian war, he is going to say also, the character of your honor. -- whyn't want to see are you on a drunken, vicious army? >> because you can't organize them, and they can't maintain order. >> they can't maintain order, that fundamentally breaks down the military. who do you want on your side? >> the general, certainly. don't want to upset the delicate balance between potential patriots and neutrals. frederick the great, prussian
king. with focused on him before. war, his point of reputation always take extreme care. he is concerned with the well-being of the average soldier. what is so shocking about that, if you think about the war and the common soldier prior to the british army for any european army, they were the absolute lower classes. were viewed as expendable. what is frederick the great doing here? >> he is talking about how the numbers of your army is really important because each individual man can be the tipping point. a single person can make you win or lose. >> you are dependent on the conduct of your soldiers.
at the same time, what happens if the army is defeated? >> the war is over. this is what he has. so, there is the understanding of soldiers as something different. the british general is going to publish a book. when an officer has had the misfortune of being be, provided he has done his duty and acting like a soldier. at some point, an officer will lose. be the officerot chasing victory were chasing the potential for victory, so long as they put in a valid effort. when the odds make sense, they can be honorable. washington is literally going to relay this to lafayette. says "no rational person
will condemn you for not fighting with the odds against you, and with so much depending on it." what is he getting at? decide thatf you the odds are against you, don't do it. but if you have a small chance and the odds are with you and you just rush in. >> you have an obligation to preserve the army. some of it is about maintaining lives, some is protecting the men. less difference between the gentleman officer and soldier. usewashington is going to what are called fabian tactics. this is the roman general. they are classic defensive tactics that were first used
against carthage. the strategy which we talked about long, long ago, involved a defensive war. impliesfensive war fighting when it makes sense for you, forcing the enemy to act. so, washington is only going to fight when it makes sense for them. otherwise, he's going to retreat. literally from new york to new jersey. particularly, general charles cornwallis. anyway, he actually refers to washington as the fox. and he says this is a game, this is a hunt. he is literally hunting washington. tactics,using these because he wants to maintain the army. and when the situation is in his
, he's able tohere spring these very elaborate, difficult, night crossings of rivers in delaware and when a successful battles. a time when favor in the war's running out. waysing in defensive rather than just the ultra aggressive. in washington is going to view the army very differently. by this, means soldiers, yes, offices. anyone consider. it also expands to anyone like
civilians providing food or clothing. it could be even african-americans joining the army to serve in a variety of capacities. and expand the definition of who is a gentleman. as early as 1775, the start of the war, we have a new term called the gentleman soldier. it is being used for the militias through the national guard units. good conduct and noble character. in the service of their country. becoming these gentlemen by serving their nation.
every soldier should be a gentleman. if you recall back to the french and indian or, the virginia militia under washington had be based on merit rather than status. soldiers have to regard their duties as becoming honorable. that is not to say they have to be victorious. this is carried on two other officers. honor is for soldiers, is for officers. it is not just for the individual. could reflect your kernel or your general also the nation. meanwhile, we do have african-americans soldiers, both free and enslaved.
know the first battle that african-americans fought in? trivia question. there are african-americans over hill. >> lexington. andexington, concord, bunker hill. they were not segregated. african-americans who had fought. initially, washington really resisted. he initially for vince not just enslaved, but also, free african-americans. allowltimately going to three and enslaved african-americans. the question is, why change? one is the provision under lord
dunmore is going to issue a proclamation providing freedom for any slave who fights against the colonists. shocked, so iss this about men? is this about combating this? maybe he has a, change of heart when he starts hitting words like. talking about a veteran of the campaigns, a character, so brief a man, who behaved like an experience officer as well as an excellent soldier. not just any soldier, but experienced officers. thomas, equally serviceable with other men. looking at the conduct an honorable nature. aboutknow there's roughly
life thousand african-americans for so who serve in some capacity, ultimately offering freedom for their services. meanwhile, things don't go so well for washington's army. washington is going to lose. the capital is going to be occupied. this is one of the major low points of the war and it's going to force washington to go on the defense. meanwhile, the british have a plan. it involves this man. he gets the name gentlemanly johnny because he loves champagne, he loves buying clothes. he is said to be a ladies man. and he was a playwright.
the mission is to march south and canada. and another british forced to march north. and, he has an exceptionally long baggage train, he has a lot of stuff. he has a car just dedicated to his champagne. ridiculous, so why are you driving your champagne through the woods of upstate new york? , and thats ridiculous is because british officers, particularly generals of high rank, were expected to entertain other officers, but also their wives would come on campaign. they would stop and requisition a house and have a party. and if you can't are these parties, it is calling into question your character.
along, along with native allies. and native allies are terrified. we have to be aware of ambush. nonsense. armyately, the american is going toio gates manage to cut off the army. gaetz will say he victory,ndedly won the but there is another man who says he single-handedly done this, and that is done at arnold, american hero. orders,despite defying they had an ongoing feud about command and rank. hisprobably remember
daughters. she's really resistant to gates. arnold is actually going to be ordered to leave the battlefield but he defies orders and single-handedly charges and and stop state potential retreat and pushes it forward and ultimately, there's victory in saratoga. arnold is wounded, he is shot in the leg. fall back and his forces going to fall on top of him and his men are going to carry him off the field as if he was a spartan soldier and he has asked, general, how are you? and he said i had rather it been my heart. so he's looking for this glorious end, this romantic, classical death. there, he died right would probably be one of the
greatest american heroes of all time. nowadays, they just have a statue of where he got shot. the patriotic life. the rest of them is the problem. turning point. among other things, the arctic oceans going on with rants. it proves to the french that the americans could potentially win. and the french are willing to get into this war. for no other reason than that they just are like the british. other reasons, they hope to gain back some of land they may have lost in the french and indian war. the french come in. formedre is an alliance to the treaty of 1778. it is alliance between the americans and the french. the french are going to send money, supplies, and army. what is theirly, most important contribution?
the navy. the american navy could not stand up to the british navy. but the french navy is comparable in many respects. and that is what is going to cut off a lot of them. spreads,f saratoga washington is of the darkest part of the war, he is in valley forge in snow, short on supplies come up short on clothing. meanwhile, horatio gates has a grand victory. and he become the hero of the north. and he starts potentially conspiring. washington is lost. has allowed the capital to fall. maybe washington isn't right to leave the army, some say. and it is going to be during
this time of victory in the north that is going to lead to an attempt to unseat washington. this, thecome to winter encampment in valley forge is crucial. one of the reasons, armies don't fight in the wintertime. you have campaign seasons. you fight in the spring and the fall in the summer. it is during the winter that the army is able to actually train. they have had a hard fight since the war began. and who helps train the army? washington also has been performing plays in the off-season. it is this man. he is going to be responsible for bringing in the european drill master concept. the problem is, he doesn't speak any english. most americans don't speak any german.
create one model unit and he would basically got them in german and scream at them and show them what to do. unit and showodel the other units what it needed to do. continental army was trained to fight like the european army. is actually a creation of this regulation, just recently the code of conduct and drills for the continental army. they can create a book. as many of them have learned, they are creating the basis of this european-style army. meanwhile, back to conspiracy. this is general conway, he was irish. you have many foreigners joining the continental army.
many europeans could embellish the military record and you could rise very quickly. here is gates. there's questions of what actually train fire, that there is potential attempt to put gates and command based on his record. nothing, buts washington believed it to be true. but he still trusted the civilians. ultimately, this is found out and gates has to back away. meanwhile, charles lee comes back. he had been captured and he had been a prisoner of the british army where he may or may not have committed treason. late 19th century, a docket was found that he had drawn up a plan to tell the
british how they could defeat the americans. is, was this done for false information, or was he trying to betray the americans? nobody knew at the time. he has been a captive for two years. he has been the constant adversary of washington. he has fought throughout europe. againll comes to a head in new jersey. command of the vanguard, initially, which is a prestigious position. with orders to attack, he turns it down. so, washington appoints a quiet. lee is now upset that a jr. officer has been placed in command rather than him.
in his forcesout facing british grenadier's. the sense is that he is supposed to attack and he retreat instead. and washington catches wind of this. and washington charges forward and the runs into retreating lee and he says, what are you doing? excellence, and he calls in a coward. publicly. washington relieve some of
command and personally charges him with potential retreat. any sort ofly stops challenge is washington. lee is going to actually demand hiscourt arsenal saying honor has been infringed on, he has been insulted by washington, but the court-martial finds in washington's favor, simply public that publishes pamphlets on how he has been wronged. dualenges a woman to a ingest. there ultimately is going to be a real dual fought to defend washington. but it is basically the end of charles lee. the end of any push against washington.
not just men, but equipment, training. meanwhile, philadelphia, the british are going to evacuate philadelphia. is, who isestion going to replace the commander? perhaps the recovery battlefield hero. known for his gallantry and good looks. benedict arnold. benedict arnold is recovering and he has given this really prestigious command. but he doesn't want it, he is a battlefield commander. he wants to fight. so he's given this position. he accepts. problem, he talks a lot. and he runs his mouth. congress does not like him. he feels he is constantly passed over by other, lesser officers. inferior officers.
and he is brought up on charges of using government property, pillaging, some other charges that no one knows about. and he is placed in charge. congress demands he squares and over loyalty. and he says, how dare you. look what i have given to this country. so, what is his first act? party wheremself a he invites no members of the continental army. a womannds up marrying from a loyalist family. it is through her that he starts
a correspondence that will ultimately lead to treason. arnold gives himself the codename of gustav us -- we stop -- gustavus. meanwhile, the british have a new plan. go south, young man. anyway, the british are going to turn their attention to the south. they are constantly chasing loyalist. they really have faulty intelligence dating back to 1774. it is really only a few rabble-rousers. most of the colonies are not for this. the idea is to march north.
command during the early days, particularly the battle of camden, is going to be horatio gates. it is this crushing defeat that gates is going to retreat. reports say 180 miles further. how does he do that? he runs from the british. this is basically the end of horatio gates. because it is viewed as cowardly, and effective area this is just proving everything that was. hamilton is going to famously joked that he is not shocked that gates actually did
this, but that he was physically capable of writing so far so fast. that is the end of ratio gates. instead,t in charge his general nathanael greene. and he isrhode island what we call a fighting quaker, quakers are usually pacifist, but he was very much in favor of an offensive war. he's a chief general in the southern campaign. frontier, very much dictated by partisan fighting. necessarily the british but this is where you get mel gibson in the patriot. fighting and his guerrilla styles. it makes it very difficult to
know who is who. it also leads to-degrees of atrocity in cases where you have brutal reprisals of loyalist and patriots. in one case, you have one commander who is in this and news reaches nathanael greene of potential violations. and he is denouncing this is notly, saying this the work we are fighting, we are fighting a war with principles. a war that shows we are behaving better. we have the british do not. the proper treatment of prisoners and civilians. known, thisbe
individual is a british officer. you may know him, he's also in harry potter. not alan rickman. jason isaias. he also gets a start, just to show how white read this is, as a young teenager, he would go on to become president. he that ousted by the british for the rest of his life. >> andrew jackson? >> andrew jackson. you have all sorts fighting and engaged in combat. meanwhile, to the north, whispers. philadelphia, arnold is
ready to return to command. brought up on court-martial charges in philadelphia and found guilty. his reprimand is relatively light. a public censure from washington. it basically boils down to, we had wished we would not have included this and will change in the future. arnold is furious. his last protector, washington, has trading. america has been trading. he has lost it all. he is going to plot to make a daring change. west point, before it was a military academy, was a fort. washington knows that arnold wants to fight in battle. but he agrees. and west point is crucial for
this rapier. it is along the hudson. what that is, literally a chain. thick thatut this stretches across the hudson river. literally tear the hulls open. would it work? >> i don't know. >> anyone say yes? bottom line, no one knows. it was never tested. the british never tested it. but the garrisons and batteries are removed. >> take the hudson.
andre, this is a self-portrait. he is going to arrange to meet with arnold. the thing is, if a british major. arnold wants to meet with him past american lines. if a british officer was meeting with benedict arnold and west point, that would look a little suspicious. to take offandre his uniform. problems. what happened the moment he takes off that red coat? he seen as a spy. band is caught by a roving militiamen. there's questions long-term if they are loyal, of russia will loyalty.
anyway, they become these great heroes. andre unfortunately identifies himself as major john andre of the king's forces. arnold is discovered, andre is ultimately hanged as a spy. but there have been difficulties the continental army in the civilian population at this where is the food? where is the clothing? war profiteering. meanwhile, the civilians alike, how come you haven't won this war? you let the capital fall. you haven't been way. -- winning.
but it is this moment that shocks all of americans, a moment like 9/11 and pearl harbor, it brings everyone back. why?uestion is it is his galvanizing moment. he says, if we have not virtue enough among ourselves to check mr. arnold, we ought to suffer. meaning that, we need to rise above this. washington is going to's in it and say this is a great ink. because it has never happened before. americans,ed are that this is the first instance of its kind, when moore was to be expected? this proves that value of the army, the devotion to the cause. within a year, we have a march on yorktown.
to happen,ng cornwallis is going to move himself to virginia on the peninsula area we talked about this before, why do you not want to put yourself on a peninsula? >> only one way out. >> so why does he do it? via thehe can retreat navy. but a late march french and americans are going to surround cornwallis. and the french navy is going to come up. so, you are literally going to and a siege of yorktown cornwallis is, he doesn't have a way out. he is going to be for it to surrender. and the british band plays the song "the world turned upside down." they can carry on for a couple more years, but this is it.
why did they stop fighting? they could continue the war. >> there was nobody left that was loyal to them in the country. >> you still have loyalists, but you now have to not only defeat the army, you have to win over the hearts and minds of americans. that is problematic. this is costly. >> also, there were issues in france. >> by this point, the french are income of the spanish are in, this has become a world war. or at least, a spanish and european war. it is not in the best interests. yorktown is going to be the last major battle. particular,eene, in is a lone figure carrying on and going past in terms of duties.
exceeding what they should be doing in the conduct of the war. rumors start circulating of a peace. and washington has one less battle to fight. it is with his own officers. this is new york, not far from west point. the british army is still in new york city. they will remain there until after the war. is checkingtal army them, watching over them. the problem was, the officers had not been paid. why hadn't they been paid? [indiscernible] >> they don't have any money. they had also been promised half pay, so a pension.
problems? same one as before. congress doesn't have a. there's rumblings. if peace comes, where do you think these officers are going? >> they don't have any other means of getting money. >> they were injured, they can't work anymore. known as the to be conspiracy, the newburgh conspiracy, continental officers are secretly meeting to discuss a potential coup on congress or andeat behind the mountains let the british marched out of new york city and do what? >>.. takeback. >> whatever. until? >> congress pays them. >> fundamentally, both of these are problematic.
ideologically, they go against the revolution. what washington is going to do to show he is in charge, cancel meet,eeting, you can't you are going to meet with me instead. meet with me instead. he didn't sound like that, but he might have. he gives what comes to be known as the newburgh address. you, inlet me conjure the name of our common country, ,s you value your sacred honor to express your utmost horror and detestation of the man who wishes, under any specious pretenses, to overturn the liberty of our country. what is washington saying here? this, you dishonor yourself. >> and not just yourself, but the country we fought for.
what will we become? honor. the term sacred where have we seen these two words? >> in american text? >> yes. the declaration of independence. our lives, our fortune, and our sacred honor. washington purposely uses these words to bring back the ideals of the revolution, the greater good of the society. it's about the country. think about what we have accomplished. this has never been done before. and you are going to give it up? so what really happens after a civil war or a rebellion? think about in the classical era or in english civil war.
who takes control? wax may a king. >> and where does -- >> may be a king. king comere does the from? military figures usually seize power. for washington, this will not happen. ultimately, this is going to appeal to them. he has a letter he's going to read. washington has been losing his eyesight. most people don't know this. he wore glasses, but he doesn't want anyone to see them, because that's not cool, but also, because he doesn't want to show weakness. so he pulls them out and puts .hem on
the officers start crying and embrace him for showing this humility. he appeals to their ideals. comes out as champions of liberty. but the last act and probably the most important in american history in my opinion, certainly last major acts of , washingtontal army is going to surrender his commission as commander-in-chief to the continental congress. different and shocking about this? [inaudible] the sense that this never
.nds well washington is literally giving up power. this is a man who would not be king. and george the third over in is expecting washington to name himself king. why? because that's what he understands. so he is ultimately going to be told that washington is giving up power. .e shocked he says if he does that, he shall be the greatest man in the world. the idea of this is what sort of
seals washington's immortality. romans --lk about the i guess in january -- cincinnatus had been briefly granted dictatorial power in rome, and what did he do? he gave it back. . gladiator so, washington surrenders his .ommission the army serves the civilian government. it wouldn't be a dictatorship. it would be civilian controlled. ofwould embrace the ideas .he revolution
that's what so profound and so different in the history of .arfare when we look at this .e see ideological focus we see it again in the french see inion, but we also the french revolution the rise of napoleon. we still see revolutions and civil wars led by strong men generals who seize power. the first since the classical era to do it. let's end for today, thanks everyone for coming. announcer: listen to lectures in history on the go by listening to our podcast anywhere, anytime. you are watching american history tv, only on c-span3.
films on public affairs each week on our series, railamerica, saturdays at 10 p.m. and sundays at 4 p.m. eastern on american history tv. here's a quick look at one of our recent programs. >> this is part of the price on june 19, 1944. 1662 troop carrier airplanes were dispatched in the first 24 hours of the assault. 43 were lost and 311 damaged by small arms fire. a lot happened here that cameras , but thisr get corporal remembers. >> we were covering the landing. we were pinned down by german fire across the field. as the men came running out,
they dropped right into it and all around us. >> a veteran glider pilot. extreme difficulty unloading. desirable if a dawn or dusk landing is at all practical. >> i flew in a parachute the first night and i was really worried. see what was supposed to be on my drop zone. >> what about the observer who entered combat? >> troops were badly scattered. dropped byould be local commanders. large-scale parachute resupply drops are wasteful and should be
restricted to emergencies. toe attention should be paid switching over ground supply as soon as possible. >> our pathfinder teams into cases i know of suffered heavy casualties. my teams which we expected so much help from were only 10% operational due to heavy fire. communications did not exist to advise of changes in enemy situations. troop carrier operations and emergency personnel should move with the first parachute. and 50% of thees wackos crashed during landed -- landing, but 50% were ready for combat on landing. films inn watch our their entirety on our weekly saturdaysal america, at 10 p.m. and sundays at 4 p.m. eastern here on american history tv.
, a panel of historians examine the morale of u.s. soldiers in the final two years of the vietnam war. of aniscussion is part all-day day conference titled manpower and morale hosted by for the military at the university of kansas. >> i wanted to start by setting the stage. we hold this manpower morale after tet.