tv Colonial Civil War Christmas Traditions CSPAN December 29, 2019 10:00am-11:01am EST
at traditions through the colonial era. dressed as patriotic santa depicted in in 1863 cartoon, also talks about the political role of christmas in america. the clara barton missing soldiers museum hosted this event. >> welcome to the clara barton missing soldiers offs museum. i'm the director of interpretation here at the museum. operated in partnership between the general services administration in the national museum of civil war medicine. i was like to ask this question, how many of you have been here before? everybody. great, welcome back to the museum. always like to make a shout out when i see mr. richard lyon's in the audience. the reason we are here in this space is because mr. lyon's made
an incredible discovery back in the 1990's that saved this building from being torn down. all is like around of applause for his discovery. this evening's program is a pay what you please event, meaning that at the conclusion of the program encourage you to leave a donation based on what you thought the program and the museum is worth to you. for an evening of civil war history the donation bin is at the bottom of the stairs at the front of the visitor center on the first floor. if you would drop something in their, all those proceeds go to support the clara barton missing soldiers office museum. the museum is member supported as well. if you're interested in learning more about becoming a supporter of the museum, let myself or other staff members know. we would be happy to assist you. tonight program, we are very excited about. we are going to explore how the
civil war shaped the celebration of christmas in the united states. tonight's presenter is brad stone, a longtime docent at the --ional museum of civil war brad has had a long career with the federal government as a senior public relations executive dealing with a lot -- with a wide variety of public health issues. this included leading operations of the u.s. food and drug administration and the u.s. substance abuse and mental health services administration. he combines his interest in the civil war and medical history by volunteering as a docent on regular basis at the national museum of civil war medicine and also aboard the uss constellation in baltimore harbor. join me in welcoming brad stone, stone,il war
our civil war santa. i will be giving you some challenges that fit into this discussion about how the civil war really shaped the christmas holiday we all know and enjoy today. to start out with, i think it's important to see how christmas is celebrated from the inception of our country to today and how the civil war really shaped the modern holiday. we should go back to colonial times to begin with. i think a lot of americans assume the holiday we celebrate today was really brought to us by our pilgrim forefathers. that is not the case. in fact, our pilgrim forefathers, the pilgrims and particularly not
care for the holiday at all. did not particularly care for the holiday at all. in fact, they shunned it. they viewed it as being associated with things like the church of england, which they had to flee, or catholicism, which they definitely did not like. in new england, the holiday was not celebrated at all. in fact, for quite a period of time in places like boston, it was illegal to celebrate the holiday, and if you were caught doing so, you would be severely fined. other colonies had a far different approach to the holiday. in places like jamestown, they did celebrate christmas, but they did not celebrate it in the way we do today, kind of a reverential way. it was more of a partying type of holiday. captain john smith of jamestown colony recorded that he had lots of eggnog that day and was full
of spirit but not necessarily religious spirit. again, from our colonial times, the holiday is perceived in different ways by americans. in revolutionary times, again, different colonies look at different ways and people within the colonies look at it in different ways. many of the patriots are actually somewhat suspicious of the holiday. they tend to associate it with britain, and at that point, they really don't want to have much to do with britain, so they ignore celebrating it. others, like george washington, do celebrate it, but again, he celebrates it in a much different way than most of us would today. it is not really to him and many others a major religious holiday. indeed, he does not consider it
that, and that's one of the reasons why he chooses it in 1776 to launch one of his most decisive attacks of the war in trenton, new jersey. it's a very successful attack, one of his most successful victories, and in large part, it is due to the fact that the hessians, who were german mercenaries fighting for the british, do observe the holiday . the night of christmas eve, they were setting up decorations and drinking. contrary to popular misconception, they do not drink themselves into a stupor. that is not why they are defeated the following morning, but a large part of their defeat
is due to the fact that they are observing the christmas holiday and the americans are not. again, even in revolutionary times, christmas is not the holiday we think of it as today. in looking why christmas in america is not sort of universally revered, we have to look at what americans are thinking of when they think of christmas around the end of the 18th century and the early 19th century. they are looking at the traditions of europe. at that time, america is almost entirely a nation of immigrants, so they are looking at the traditions of europe and other places. when you look at those traditions, and a lot of them are not very reverent, and a lot of them have some kind of weird aspect to them.
one of the big practices in england and in some other parts of europe is the practice of murmuring -- mummering, one of the major ways you celebrate the christmas season. today, we may think of the mummers as the people who march in the parade in philadelphia, but in the late 18th century, early 19th century, they are basically groups of people -- usually wearing masks and disguises -- and a lot of them come from the lower socioeconomic spectrum, and they are going to the houses of more well-off families, and they basically entertain them. in exchange for that entertainment, they expect stuff. it's either food or presence for, very often, alcohol. -- it's either food or presents or, very often, alcohol. one of the songs we think of is "we wish you a merry christmas," which sounds pretty wholesome,
right? but if you look closely at the lyrics, "we all like some figure putting, so bring it right here we won't go until we get some." that sounds more like an extortion threat to me. again, it is these bands of her mask people coming to your home in this case saying we want alcohol. a traditional punch bowl used to provide alcoholic beverages, and in some cases, this could be like the halloween from hell. in newfoundland, they outlawed mom or -- mummering because people had been murdered in their homes from these gangs of mummers. a lot of people were wary of celebrating christmas. that's going to change for a couple of reasons. oops. well, i don't have the slide so i will talk about it instead. two big things that will really influence how the holiday is celebrated occur at the very
outset of the 19th century. the first is the second great awakening. this is an enormous religious revival movement that sweeps across the nation, and it makes americans far more religious than they have ever been before, and it affects almost every aspect of their lives, and a major aspect of it is a look at traditional christmas holidays like christmas. christmas becomes far more of a time for reverence, for observing the birth of christ, and that is going to play a very significant role in how americans start to look at the holiday.
the other major influence that is occurring at the turn-of-the-century is the fact that the industrial revolution is really starting to kick off, both in places like england and in the united states, particularly in the north, and what that is doing is basically creating more availability of goods at affordable prices, and what does that allow you to do? that allows you to manifest the spirit of giving and sharing at christmas by exchanging gifts.
again, that is also a very important aspect and why americans start to warm up to the christmas holiday. one of the other problems that americans face is even if you want to celebrate christmas, what tradition do you draw upon? all the nations of europe basically have different forms of christmas and different images of the spirit of christmas or the santa claus-type figure. one basic problem is when do you celebrate the holiday? that ranges all over the calendar. for example, if you are from holland, you celebrate it in early december, but if you are in eastern europe, you celebrate it in early january. most other european nations have
dates somewhere, you know, around the time we celebrate but not exactly. that's one question you have to answer. the other one is, again, who is the spirit of christmas going to center around? you have all these different figures -- father christmas from england, noel from france, and saint nicholas from germany. they all have some things in common. they all look like they could be members of zz top. they've got the beard thing going, but they have widely different approaches to the holiday. some are very spiritual. some are not. some are very focused on children and gifts to children. some are more oriented to, you know, adult recreation. different images and different approaches.
someone is going to decide how and when we celebrate the holiday. in looking at the christmas holiday -- oops, i'm sorry. oh, there's the slide. ok. in looking at the holiday, we see that these forces that are driving america toward accepting christmas are starting to seep into our culture by the early 19th century, and you start to see this in the literature that becomes more and more abundant as the century rolls on. it starts in america in 1819 with washington irving, one of america's most famous writers,
writing something, a series of essays. it basically lays out how a proper family should celebrate the holiday. you are moving away from drunken revelry to a more genteel, more wholesome celebration of the holiday. shortly thereafter, it is followed up in 1822 by reverend clement clark more's famous -- what he calls a visit from saint nicholas, what we generally call "was the night before christmas -- "'twas the night before christmas." it is generally laying out what santa should be all about. santa is a jolly guy. santa is there to provide christmas presents to the good boys and girls. how does he get about? it's in the poem. flying reindeer. a lot of the things we think about christmas are established through this program. there are a few things that need to be tweaked.
he refers to santa as a bright, jolly, old elf. as you can see, a little big to be an elf. the other thing is tiny reindeer. anybody seen a reindeer lately? they could lose a few pounds. but he is getting the essential elements correct. so much so that here's my first challenge -- can anyone name the eight reindeer in the poem? >> dachshund and dancer and prancer and -- comment! -- -- or -- dasher and dancer and prancer and -- comet! blitzen.
mr. stone: you got them all. congratulations. i'm going to share with you these reindeer nuggets made by reindeer. i will not tell you how they are made. the challenges get harder as we go on. i'm just kidding. charles dickens will write the very famous and very influential "a christmas carol." that will really establish a lot of aspects of the modern christmas as well, the idea of christmas charity, the idea of it being a family-centric holiday, and particularly the idea of children being at the forefront.
he does that through the figure of tiny tim. it is very important that he is writing this at the time of queen victoria or the victorian age, and the reason being is during that period, both in the united states and in england, everybody is following the lead of queen victoria. his work is a blockbuster, not only lien -- not only in england but also in the united states. we will talk about this more again, but what is happening in victorian england will happen in the united states during this period. we are starting to get to the point where everybody likes the christmas holiday. everybody wants to celebrate it, but the question is -- who's tradition are you going to
follow? as i mentioned before, there were all these european traditions, so who is going to be the dominant one? is it going to be the british tradition? is it going to be the scotch or irish tradition? the answer is no, it's actually going to be the german tradition. the hessians who lost the battle of trenton actually win the war in terms of how we are going to celebrate christmas. the influence from germany is coming in two directions. one externally and one internally. let's see who is doing it outside the united states. it's this guy, prince albert. he in essence will become the martha stewart of christmas in both victorian england and the united states, and as martha stewart would say, that's a good
thing. he is influential because he is the husband of queen victoria, and when he comes to her court, he introduces a lot of the native traditions of germany. one of the biggest is the christmas tree. he will introduce that along with the idea that it should be decorated with lots of ornaments. he also stresses the importance of giving gifts, which many people trace back to the influence of martin luther, but that was a way of really observing the birth of christ -- thought that was a way of really observing the birth of christ. he also introduced the way of specially wrapping the gift in special christmas wrapping paper. he introduces all these things into the court, and very
quickly, the leading british publications at the time publish these illustrations of what the holiday looks like in her home -- queen victoria's home -- and almost immediately, every proper british family has a christmas tree. when these images cross the pond to the united states, the same thing happens. almost immediately, every proper american home wants to have a christmas tree decorated with ornaments. speaking of these ornaments, at about the same time these traditions are catching on both in england and the united states, germany is developing a whole industry in creating glass ornaments. indeed, this industry will become so pervasive that germany will remain the leading provider of christmas ornaments to the united states all the way up
until world war ii. this tradition of decorating the tree establishes two important things. generally speaking, it is a time when families get together and enjoy each other's company by decorating the tree. kind of a bonding experience. now, my home it establishes a different tradition. that is my wife yelling at me for clumsily dropping the ornaments and breaking them, but it is a very important part of the christmas holiday. now, where is the other part of the german influence coming from? it's coming from a wave of german immigrants coming into this country in the 20 years leading up to the civil war. about 1.4 million germans come into this country. it is comparable in size to the wave of irish immigrants also coming into this country, but
the german immigrants have a little bit more influence than other immigrant groups for a couple of reasons. they tend to be a little better educated, they tend to be more skilled, and the other thing is there's already a sizable german-american population here in the country established. when they come, again, they are bringing a lot of their traditions, bringing christmas trees, bringing, you know, this idea that you should give gifts, and that it should be centered around the children. leading into the decades just before the civil war, christmas is really taking off. and indeed, it's not only becoming part of the culture, it is becoming a significant part of our economy. you start to see industries
developed around things like christmas cards, christmas wrapping paper, christmas decorations, and things like toys. another thing that is happening is christmas advertising really starts in earnest during this period and will become a major part of the publishing industry. now, all these things are beginning to gel and create a holiday we can relate to a little bit more, but that's not to say there are not some outliers out there. in certain cities, the holidays are still celebrated by gangs of drunken hooligans -- places like new york. these gangs have a name for themselves. there's still wild and crazy things going on, but these begin to diminish and eventually disappear. so much so that the holiday becomes seen as a very respectable thing, a very wholesome thing that everyone should enjoy, so much so that in most of the states leading up to the civil war, it becomes an
official state holiday. in 29 out of the 34 states leading up to the civil war, it does become an official holiday. it is one of the few things leading up to the civil war that americans can seem to unite about because in this period, again, there is a growing rift in the united states that is going to lead to the civil war. is christmas enough to unite the country? unfortunately, the answer is no, and one of the major reasons is it cannot address the central issue that is dividing the
nation, the issue of slavery. for slaves, the 4 million african-americans who are enslaved, christmas is not a good time of the year. it is a very strange time of the year. if you look at southern newspapers, you will see christmas ads for toys and other goods and they will be right next to ads for slaves. in some cases, women and children. for the slaves themselves, christmas can be actually the worst time of year. why? many of their masters will lease them out to other farms and plantations, and those leases come up at the end of the year and once they do, these slaves
may be leased out to other farms or plantations, and that is a prime time when those families may become divided. likewise, the tax season in many southern states comes due at the end of the year, around christmas time. if you are a slave master and you owe taxes, in many cases, what you will do is sell your property, including your slaves. again, those families may be divided at that time. so it is a terrifying time for many slave families. some slave masters make a big show about giving their slaves time off or extra food or even some presence, but in many cases, these are very hollow gestures. one blatant example of this, one of the people who brags about it the most is a south carolina senator by the name of james
henry hammond. he brags about the bountiful food he gives his slaves, but he is renowned for the way he savagely beats his slaves and very often sexually assaults his slaves. for the 4 million americans who are enslaved, christmas is not a good time of the year, and the christmas holiday can do nothing to resolve this issue. so of course in 1861, the nation will go to war. almost as soon the civil war starts, both sides try to weaponize the holiday. you see confederate or southern publications talking about how the yankees hate christmas and they declare themselves a confederacy of christmas states. in the north, publications say it's a fine yankee tradition and the south is acting like a bunch of scrooges. why are both sides doing this? both sides think that their cause is just. both sides think god is on their
size, so it is a larger goal for them to try to make the argument that christmas and santa claus is also on their side. the north will have a big advantage in this struggle over christmas in the form of this man, thomas nast. he is one of the most influential writers and illustrators of this period, and he works for one of the leading publications -- harper's weekly. a few things about him -- he is staunchly prounion. he is a staunch antislavery person. he is an abolitionist, and he is also a staunch republican. in fact, he is a friend of abraham lincoln. he is from a german-american background, and that influences his work a little bit, and his work during the civil war will be to do everything he can to make it clear that christmas and santa claus is on the side of the union, and he will become
one of the primary chroniclers of not only santa claus but christmas and almost every aspect of christmas, and his work will carry on beyond the civil war, as we will see. but -- i'm just going to take a little swig of water here. let's see how he portrays santa claus and his role in the civil war. we look at his first illustration of santa during the war. and it is this one, which should look familiar. i will explain what's going on here. he is doing everything he can in
this illustration, which is the start of the new year in 1863 and "harper's weekly," again, the most influential periodical in the united states, or as it humbly calls itself, the journal of civilization, and he is making every effort to make sure you get the message. first at the top, you see the u and the s that stands for the united states, for the union. then let's look at what i'm wearing. i am literally wrapped in the union flag. this top part is the blue field of that flag. i have 35 stars which represent the states in the union. mike pence -- my pants are the stripes of that flag. again, he is rapping me in the flag, and i am surrounded by
union troops, and they are all carrying lots of presents, and i am giving them those presents because they are good men fighting for the right side. in the background, there's the union flag. he is doing everything he can to make the case that santa is on the union side. if you still have not gotten the point, i will point your attention to the fact -- it's hard to see in this picture, but he is entertaining the troops here with a little toy, and this is the toy he is entertaining them with. this is confederate president jefferson davis hanging by a noose. i think we can all agree they
don't make toys like they used to. so, anyway, he is making every point he can to show that christmas belongs to the union. he is also chronicling the holiday, and during the war, christmas will take on a far more sentimental, poignant role in americans' lives. you see this picture, and it's making a point that is very important for families to be together and increasingly during the war, families are a part -- apart. millions of men for the first time in american history have had to go off to war. you see this very sentimental picture of the wife with the two children in bed looking out the window thinking of her husband on the battlefront, and there he is at the battlefront thinking of the family he left behind. the war has this effect of intensifying the idea that christmas is a time for families to be together. it really highlights that
emotion. just to make it clear that nast has not forgotten me, santa claus, i am up here on top of the roof. i want to get those gifts to kids. in this depiction, it looks like i have maybe gained a few pounds, so i had to shed some of my outfit to fit down the chimney, but i'm still there with reindeer. the other thing he is chronicling and becomes american -- apparent to everyone is the christmas is -- the other thing he is chronicling, and it becomes apparent to everyone, is that christmas is highlighting the disparities between the north and south. the north starts out with a far more robust economy, more industrial economy, and as the
war goes on, the north is suffering in terms of the men it is losing, no doubt, but in terms of its economy, it is getting bigger and bigger and more affluent, and that is reflected in the way they are celebrating the holiday. at home, they are feasting more, exchanging more gifts. things are better and better. likewise in the field, men are enjoying the holidays more. they are able to partake of more rations, a wider variety of rations. they are feasting on things like mutton along with the delicacies like canned oysters. for the union, increasingly, christmas is a time of celebration, of joy, and of prosperity. the situation is far different in the south. for them, christmas highlights the fact that conditions are getting worse and worse, both on the homefront and in the field. for them, they are dealing with an economy that was not as robust or is established at the
beginning of the war, and it's getting worse and worse. first of all, most of the war is fought on southern soil, and that is creating a lot of devastation, but also, they have to contend with things like the union naval blockade, which is strangling their economy. as the war goes on, christmas highlights the fact that things are becoming more and more desperate, harder and harder times. as a result, they are not able to do things like give gifts to their children, so increasingly, they have to explain to southern children what is going on in terms of santa claus. you have things in southern publications that say things like santa is a yankee or was shot by the yankees. one of the weirdest explanations came in "the richmond examiner. -- "the richmond examiner." they said no real santa existed, however, he was a dutch toy
monger and an immigrant from england who had nothing to do with virginia hospitality and christmas merrymaking. that's very convoluted. but again, you get the gist. they are trying to say that santa and christmas just does not exist anymore. lincoln and nast recognize this disparity and they will do everything they can to make the most of it in promoting the war effort. to talk about lincoln for a second, it is interesting to look where he started and where he ended up. when you, as a state legislator in illinois -- you know, many years before the war, he had actually voted against making christmas a holiday. this president of the united states and leader of the union war effort -- he is going to do everything he can to promote the holiday. lincoln is at lot of things.
lincoln is a very shrewd politician. lincoln is a very skilled statesman. lincoln is also a master propagandist, and he throughout the war will work with nast to drive home messages, and this illustration really drives home several. if you look at it, what you see here is this massive christmas feast going on throughout the union. it's like a never-ending cracker barrel. everybody is partaking of it. what this message is sending to the union is -- look, things are better than ever. he's trying to build up union morale by saying we are stronger and more affluent than ever before. he's also sending a message to the confederates. as you see in this illustration,
he's going to the door, he opens it, and who does he see but these scraggly looking confederate soldiers? they represent the confederate states, and he is basically beckoning them to come in. he will forgive them if they return to the fold, and they can take part in this sumptuous banquet. he is also sending a message to europe and other powers, saying, don't get any ideas. we are involved in this war, but we are prospering, so don't get any ideas about messing with us or trying to help the confederacy. both he and nast in many ways are sending different messages to different audiences using christmas and using santa claus. he will augment this by hosting a lot of receptions in the white house during christmas. he will make it a point for he and his cabinet to visit the troops at christmas, both in hospitals and at camps. lincoln considers christmas to
be so important and nast's work in promoting christmas to be so important that he will say that santa was the best recruiting sergeant the north ever had. to reinforce this, we look at what happens in 1864 when general sherman makes his decisive victory in capturing the port city of savannah. many people consider this one of the deathknell's of the confederacy. how does sherman characterize this when he informs lincoln? he says -- he telegraphs lincoln, "i beg to present you as a christmas gift the city of savannah." how does lincoln respond? "many, many thanks for your christmas gift, the capture of savannah." again, driving home the fact that christmas, santa claus, is part of the union cause. this not only establishes that, but also -- the civil war at the time is when you start to see this tradition of linking
christmas with the u.s. military, and that tradition continues to this very day as i will talk about in a little bit. fortunately, the war does come to an end. unfortunately, lincoln does not get to enjoy it very long, but nast does want to commemorate the fact that the war has ended, and he wants to tie it into christmas. now he is doing it in a slightly different way -- or actually, a significantly different way. christmas is no longer promoting the cause of the union. it is promoting the cause of reuniting the nation, and that is what you see in this cartoon. first of all, you see santa claus front and center. he is looking bigger and jolly or than ever -- bigger and jollier than ever. at the top, you see children enjoying their toys. below, you see families reunited for the first time. below, you see the american family getting together on literally a national stage, and, you know, it is a time of joy, a time of harmony, a time for the nation to come as one in this harmonious christmas holiday.
nast being nast does have to make one last little dig at the confederacy. you see at the bottom the figure of ulysses s grant, who nast views as one of the people who has brought the nation together, and he is surrounded by the disembodied heads of leaders -- members of the confederacy. what can i tell you? even at the best of holiday reunions, we all know there are those awkward moments. overall, the point of the illustration is to show that christmas is a time to bind wounds and reunite the american family. as the years following the civil war go by, there's more and more of a feeling that there is a role that holidays can play to help unite our country, and that will focus on certain key holidays that people believe all americans can enjoy.
this effort is, you know, focused on bringing the north and south together, but it is also focused on dealing with the fact that there are more and more immigrants coming into this country. indeed, during the period of 1860 to 1870, even though there is a war going on, more than 5.5 million immigrants come to this country. again, there is this need to try
to find these unifying things that will bring the people together, and one of them is a holiday. ulysses s grant signs into law a series of bills that make certain key holidays national holidays. they are christmas, the fourth of july, and new year's day. there's one other one. can anyone guess what that other one is? >> [inaudible] mr. stone: who said that? i'll have to ask you to leave. no, just kidding. you won. oops. you will win the smarties. if you can pass them back to her. ok, so that's right, thanksgiving. by the way, thanksgiving is another holiday that lincoln really promotes during the civil war.
interesting note there -- jefferson davis also declares thanksgiving and holiday during the civil war, but here's the difference -- lincoln declares it a day of feasting, of enjoying lots of food, family. jefferson davis declares it a day of fasting. you can determine who is doing better just by the way they are observing that holiday. let's get back to christmas. when christmas is declared a national or federal holiday, it is -- let me step back here and say of course christmas is a christian holiday. it was established to observe the birth of christ. but in making it a national or federal holiday, that is not the purpose. indeed, grant during his administration will successfully
defeat efforts to declare america a christian nation. christmas in this sense is being used two unite americans around a holiday that everybody can celebrate and enjoy in any way they want to. if you are a christian, of course you look at the religious aspect, but if you are a non-christian, you can also enjoy it, and indeed, that seems to be the effect. looking at accounts by, for example, a philadelphia newspaper, they note that even in the homes of hebrew brethren -- jews -- christmas trees bloomed, and the little ones of israel -- jewish kids -- were as happy over them as christian children. again, it shows that almost
instantly, christmas is adopted by people from all backgrounds and walks of life. it's a very popular holiday. in the period following the civil war, the 20 years following the civil war, nast will continue his efforts to refine and create the modern christmas holiday that we all know and love and particularly with regard to santa claus, he pretty much establishes the modern santa claus in every aspect. when he is doing this after the civil war, who does he model santa after? he tries to do it after the most respected people of the era, and who are those? the titans of industry. the rockefellers, carnegie. he makes santa claus a tightening of his industry, which is giftgiving. he doesn't number of things to really establish that santa claus is a very respectable figure. first of all, he decks him out
-- and according to this picture on the left here -- i think it is your left -- he is wearing a fine red suit, very nicely trimmed. he also makes sure that santa has an international operation that will be centered in the north pole. and it will be a workshop or factory, and it will be manned by elves or workers, and again, he has an international database to work off of -- the book of who is naughty or nice. he can tell every child throughout the world if they are naughty or nice. in almost every conceivable way,
the santa claus we know today is the invention of thomas nast. some people say that modern center comes from the coca-cola company and the illustrations they did in the 1930's. this illustration here is one of the coca-cola illustrations. you can see by the other illustration that nast did in the 1880's that basically, that is borrowing every aspect of santa from what nast did. in many, many ways, santa and christmas really owe almost everything to thomas nast and the work he did both during and after the civil war. let's go back for a second to the tradition -- i talked about the start of the civil war, tying in christmas and santa with the u.s. military. of course, that tradition continues, and it is even kind
of hinted at in this illustration here. you see santa is wearing a sword. nast is constantly driving home that theme, but it will continue even after nast. there's santa in world war i and then santa in world war ii and then santa in the cold war. then we see santa in more modern engagements, and of course, santa is affiliated with many military things, including the toys for tots campaign, which is run by the u.s. marine reserve. santa, christmas are really an enduring image of american patriotism and goodwill throughout the world to this very day. so much so that there's a special branch of the military that keeps track of what santa is doing on christmas eve -- norad, the north american aerospace defense command. since 1955, they have been tracking santa. if you want to know how that all
started in the question and answer thing, i can answer that for you or at least attempt to, but if you hear or at home are interested in what santa is up to on new year's eve, you want to track his whereabouts, go to the norad website, and you can do that -- if you here for at home. it is a fine, established tradition. let's look at the major ways christmas really was established, that modern christmas was established during the civil war. first, the civil war unified the observance of the holiday by transforming it into a national holiday. it also -- again, largely through the work of nast -- blended and the images of christmas and a lot of the traditions of christmas from different cultures into a uniquely american one, both in terms of customs and in terms of
images, and it also helped to establish the christmas that we celebrate today, which is a unique blend or balance of the spiritual and the material. it promoted christmas that has an all-inclusive character, and i will talk a little bit more about that in a second. finally, in my humble opinion, it established america as the arbiter of all things christmas throughout much of the world. again, the civil war played an instrumental role in the holiday that we all celebrate today. now, since you've been such a great audience, i'm going to have one more question for you.
one thing did not get established about christmas during the civil war or through thomas nast. can anyone guess that one factor about santa claus? anyone? who is up on the screen there? >> [inaudible] mr. stone: bingo, you win next nation point as a result, you get these. you can decorate either yourself or your car with these. yeah, rudolph, the red nosed reindeer. interesting story very briefly. rudolph was discovered in the late 1930's? he was developed for the montgomery ward company store chain. they used him for a wild. eventually, they decided to go on to other campaigns. they gave him, the copyright back on rudolph the red nose reindeer. that was a mistake in part because his brother-in-law was a guy by the name of johnny marks, a songwriter who wrote a little song will know and love called "rudolph the red nose reindeer," making rudolph one of the most popular reindeer of them all and made a ton of money for both of
them. johnny marks was a kind of interesting fellow. he would become the most prolific christmas songwriter of them all. his songs are too numerous to mention, but they include things like "i heard the bells on christmas day," "run, rudolph, run," "rocking around the christmas tree," and "a holly jolly christmas." there's an interesting aspect about these men. these two guys together created the last big piece of the christmas puzzle we all know and love today. does anyone know what in their background we all might find ironic? the answer is they are actually both jewish, and that goes to the point that christmas is something that all americans, no matter their background, celebrate and enjoy. during literature searches, i found many articles talking about many in the united states,
many muslims, many buddhists, and many hindus all celebrate the holiday. in conclusion, i think many americans enjoy the holiday, the foundations of which were established during the civil war. i want to thank you all very much for coming out tonight. i will remind you that if you want to make a donation to the museum, either because you have enjoyed this presentation or you are just so gosh darn glad it is over, please feel free to do so at the end of the presentation, and i want to thank both the museum for inviting me here, and especially the folks at c-span for some technical assistance they gave for this program that made it possible. again, if you have any questions, i will be happy to answer them, but i want to wish you all a very merry christmas and very happy new year. thank you all very much. [applause]
mr. stone: oh, thank you. anyone have any questions at all? ok, well, again, thank you all for coming and showing up. i really enjoyed seeing all of you. jake: thank you very much, brad. thank you all for coming out this evening. just a reminder, it is a pay what you please program and there is a donation bin at the front of the visitor center on the first floor. our next program is on saturday, the battle of janesville, if you want to hear another presentation. we do have another one coming up in just a few days. thank you very much.
>> today and cyclical young eastern on american artifacts on american history tv on c-span 3, living history enthusiasts reenact george washington's crossing of the delaware river. discussion about -- >> one of the things that strengthened the case against nixon and legitimized it was the fact that it was bipartisan. there were many republicans who studied the evidence. they looked at the reports. they listened to the tapes when they finally were released he looked out the transcripts that were released in advance. and they came to the conclusion that nixon had done something wrong. >> this weekend, explore our nation's past on american history tv on c-span 3.
>> hi. my name is adam cook, a 2018 c-span studentcam winner. i am here to encourage her to continue to wrap up this opposition as the deadline is getting close. but you will still have time. this is about the time i got started filling my documentary the first time i entered it. incredibleme with an opportunity for me to express my thoughts and views about the lyrical climate while connect with local and state leaders in political office. i am extremely excited that you all are interested in this and pursuing this. it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. i am so excited you are taking it. >> there is still time for you to enter the c-span student video competition. you have until january 20 to create a five minute to six minute documentary that explores an issue you want president of candidates to address.
we are giving away a total of $100,000 in cash prizes. for more information, go to our website, studentcam.org. the university of washington history professor discusses her book "the code." >> you have the biggest of big government programs. the space race. you have what eisenhower labels the military industrial complex foundation ofhe innovation and private wealth creation. and, in fact, an industry that kind of considers itself an industry that built itself on its own, that actually the government becomes almost invisible to many of the people who are in silicon valley, who are the creators of these companies and technologies. they think there is no role, but actually, there is.
that is part of the magic. that it is a government out of sight. >> tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's "q&a." soviet, millions of citizens faced starvation in one of the worst famines in history. setting aside political differences, vladimir lenin's new soviet government asked herbert hoover's american relief administration for help. next on american history tv, historian douglas smith gives an illustrator talk about the story based on his book, "the russian job: the forgotten story of how america saved the soviet union from ruin." estate museum and gardens hosted this event. good evening and welcome to hillwood estate museum and gardens. already,ny of you know but in case we have not met, my name is kate mark kirk --