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tv   Public Affairs  CSPAN  April 1, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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the federalists were put off by this. of discussion about creating a republican force. who is a group of people that had avernment republic. that is part of what she was doing. one of the things that is ingenious about dolley is she takes european influences and filters them through a democratic lands.
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they give you something to aspire to as a new nation and how elliot and wonderful it can be. but you do not offend people who dislike the courts and the royalty of europe. >> she had a parrot? >> yes. apparently it was a terror and would attack people. she played her own part in this last moment when everybody throughout the white house, there is a white french servant, and he takes the bird the house where she lived long enough to make it where somebody is the victim of a nighthawk. >> maybe some people in washington secretly cheered. [laughter] >> it is time to talk about the important decision to go to war with great britain. and the eventual seizure of the
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capital city, which happened in 1814. there is a dramatic story about dolley madison being in the white house alone and the approaching british troops. we will start with you about telling us that story. >> the background of all of this is they had been gone for a couple of years. there were rumors around the city that the capitals were the target. the washington city had an inferiority complex. say,an in charge would they are never coming to washington. baltimore is the place. some of the british did march on washington city. that is not prepared. she is alone in the white house. the day before the last day of the white house, august 24, 1814. she is waiting for her husband to come home while she is preparing for the worst. she is writing this letter for her sister and running up to the roof looking for a husband.
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she is observing how badly the battle is going. she is also packing things, silver, which she considers the people's possessions, and she sends them away in carts. finally, the work comes and it is time to go. >> the british were coming. >> how endangered was she? >> if she waited any longer, she might have been captured. that would have been a huge prize of war. she knew she had to leave. she wanted to wait for her husband to come home, and then they reunited a couple of days later. she had the tables set for dinner and the british came in
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and thought that was wonderful. but she saved the portrait of washington, which was one of the things that endeared her to the entire nation, a portrait. she knew exactly what she was doing. writing about it, she knew what her place in history was going to be. >> are you worried about the fact that this is symbolic because it was a copy of a painting? she understood the british could not be seen burning. >> a historian is trying to decide whether she was symbolic as they say. the admiral framed all of his threats towards washington. he was going to come and dine at madison's table. he was going to parade her to the streets. he was not attacking james
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madison with rhetoric, but her. when he got to the white house and she was not there, he took things of hers because he said he wanted to recall her seat. the dinner party was interesting, too. it seems odd to have a dinner party one washington was an exodus. she was trying to hold the capital together even as it was falling apart. she intended to have a dinner party that day. >> she wrote this. "i must leave this house. -- >> there was a great deal of conversation about should the capital still remain in washington, which was now
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destroyed? or should they move the capital back to philadelphia? the octagon house was only a few blocks away. they immediately began to entertain. in a grand style. this really sent a signal to diplomats in washington and congress and the people, that they were not going to turn tail and run, but stay in the capital. >> next, we will visit that house. >> this is very important for dolley madison's political career as first lady. the octagon is two blocks from the white house. it was a natural fit as they tried to resume government as quickly as possible. the majestic, elegant, spacious house was the perfect setting for the events that dolley needed to orchestrate and manage
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in the life of the president. this is why the house is known as the octagon. it was a round room very popular in those days. this was an important room to welcome guests. it is a round room. when you are in this room, no matter where you stand, you are equal. this was very important for dolley to make everybody feel welcome. enemies or allies. the room is a good example of why this house was so good for dolley. she was known for her wednesday drawing room event. they had 300 people before the were coming. during the war, up to 500 people coming. the room could only said about 5200 people. it's still serve the the very important purpose. the country was still at war when the medicines were here. dolley was playing an important role.
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she often had different people here, and poured members of congress would be seated at the table. many discussions took place in this room while she was the hostess. it was important to maintain a sense of decorum for the president and first lady. the business was going to go on and the united states would survive and continue. >> we have on facebook a question about whether or not she liked to mix people of various social classes at these events. >> that was part of what in deer herd to people, that she access to just about anyone who was well-dressed were properly addressed, in other words, you do not have to be elegant or rich. if you are properly dressed, could have access to the family. >> there was discussion about boots.
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for some people, she is way too regal and too much. four other people, they look at this democratic reaching out and they are suspicious of it. they expressed their reservations are around the issue of boots. a gentleman would never come on a carpet with boots on. >> washington was a different place at the time. >> she welcome congressman from different areas. they pointed to that as a sign of her dangerous tendencies. >> this is a specific question of local history. is it true she escaped the war on what is now madison boulevard?
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>> i do not know. he goes to bellevue, now the house you can go and visit. then they do go across the room and she spends the time at the plantation. she ends at the house still standing now. i think the road probably reflects that. >> was she safe when she the river? >> she was. i was lucky enough to go there. she could see washington burn. >> barbara in new york city is up next. independent. >> could either of your guests speak to a story i read about that she stopped at a store in
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baltimore owned by a black and that it was there that she first tasted ice cream and she loved it and she served in very frequently at her social gatherings after that. do either of your guests know anything about that? >> ice cream and dolley madison became synonymous later on in 20th-century america. >> i do not know the accuracy of that particular story. i think jefferson was the president bringing ice-cream back from france. ghali served in the white house. where she found it, i do not know. >> is a serious import. the story is not true probably. it is the association people tell me, she invented ice cream. she did not.
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what happens is, almost immediately after her death, she became closely associated as a symbol of american womanhood. her name and image get coopted by everything to ice cream hairpins, a sexy brand of cigars. she becomes a brand so quickly that the association becomes one of those things that people think she invented it. it goes to how important she >> and how people wanted to attach whatever their product was to her name and that would recommend it. she foreshadows what francis does in the late 19th century, where francis's face and name are plastered on all kinds of products for sale. >> today, how has the white house approached that? louie in washington d.c., welcome. >> a fascinating program. i have enjoyed being on with you
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before myself. no question she was extraordinarily courageous. here she is, not just worried about getting out herself, but do we know did she ride when she took those valuables? one of the drawings shows her and walking. how did she get away and where did she cross to get into virginia? >> why do i get the geography questions? i will say this. she said all these papers, including james madison's notes. she takes them previous to that. at the last minute, she decided on a painting. there is evidence she got her servant to wrestle it off-the- wall and she gave it to two
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gentlemen from the york who put it in a car and took it away. something would survive and she herself is taken away by carriage. i do not know where she crossed. >> john is in new york. >> thank you for taking my call i understand dolley madison died in poverty. i was wondering if that is true and how that happened. i know elisa had lived from the corner. i was wondering if they had ever enacted. thank you very much. >> how far into american history was it? >> a while.
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what they had was what they lived on when they retired. if you are wealthy enough to get into politics in the first place, you would be able to support yourself afterwards. dolley had a son from her first marriage. he ran through their estate. he ran up enormous debts and ended up in prison twice. each time james and dolley would bail him out. she put him in charge and that was a disaster. she ended up losing and living in poverty. >> was she not a good judge of character?
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character? >> one of the great political guess she brought to a very contentious time in politics, it was a refusal to contend. she did not fight. it is not great when you have a son being spoiled. this was her blind spot. all of that would not work with him. i want to answer the question about elisa. they did know each other. in 1848, when they laid the cornerstone for the washington monument, the sponsors decided to bring the relics of the republic. widows were called relics. they invited by dolley madison and hamilton. these women were representatives of the time. >> we have about 35 minutes left in our portrait. it is time to answer the question, who was this woman who became internationally famous
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and what we're roots? we visited her house in philadelphia where she lived as a quaker. we will show you that now. >> this is her house in philadelphia. mother,e becomes wife, and a widow. this room was a kitchen of the house. you would probably find her with her two sisters. she would often have her younger sister living here with her. as quakers, they did not believe in slavery. her husband gave free legal advice to the abolitionists society here. this is a dining room. this room was a multiuse room. the family dined here but they also use it for educational
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purposes. they believe both men and women should be educated. on the table, there are books here for educating sisters and her son. in august of 1793, a french ship arrived in philadelphia it was carrying passengers suffering from yellow fever. anyone who had money sent their family outside the city and the successful lawyer did that. he will die of yellow fever on october 24, 1793. the same day john dies of yellow fever, dolley's baby will as well. not only did she lost her husband and protector, but also, she has the community watching her. she has a gentleman who are interested for months. even as she walked down the street, all the men we're stopping to stare at her. the quakers watched her closely. her friends warned her she needs to be aware they are watching
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her and she needs to be right by her son. this property is partly his property, too, even though he's only a few years old at the time. dolley has to contend with the scrutiny of the community and have to go to court to petition them to be the guardian of her own son because that was the situation. even though her husband had made her the executor widow, her brother-in-law has kept the property so she has to hire a lawyer to protect her interests and her own brother-in-law. this is on the second floor of the house. this is where you would entertain your friends. one of the men interested in
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meeting her was james madison. he was a congressman here in capital city. philadelphia was the contemporary capital of the united states at the time. was an exciting place to be. aaron had been living in her mother's boarding house. it is aaron burr who let's turn now james madison which is to meet her. james madison would meet dolley in this parlor for the first meeting. they expected at least a year of morning before they get married again. it really raised eyebrows in the community that she was married within less than a year. she was very scrutinized by the quakers for that. the fact that he is not a quaker is she would be put out of the community, as well. >> that video gave us a broad overview of the biography.
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let's fill in a few of the blanks. >> that's a little bit of a family scandal. she want to be virginia born panned bread. her mother's folks are from virginia and probably her father's as well. >> john converts to quakerism and they go off and live in north carolina in a quaker community. as far as we know dolley was born there so she is north carolina's only first lady. what is sad about that she spends most of her life denying
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it. we think it has to do with her father's shady business practices and they move back to virginia. so she's raised in the world of slave holding. hiser father released slaves as a quaker. is that the cause of his inability to continue his business? >> i think he had other problems besides that. he couldn't farm so they moved to that chilly northern city of philadelphia. >> i'm not sure if you know so much about her thoughts of slavery. how is it that she reconciled herself to actually having slaves in the white house? >> i think that's a good question. i'm not sure i know the answer to that. but she did not free any of her slaves as her father had. and she didn't speak out against slavery so the quaker background there did not effect her slave holding. >> this is why historians have a hard job. >> it's a real dichotomy.
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>> her father frees slaves and go to philadelphia. for ten years things are terrible for the pains in philadelphia. children die. her mother has to open up a boarding house. she's pushed into marrying john todd. she has two children, one of them dies. then she's this beautiful 25- year-old widow. and you could argue she could have had her pick of any man but she picks james madison. turns out to be a great pick. but why does she do that? it's one of those moments she said i could go back to the world i lived in but we don't have anything from her at the. what we do know is by the time she's a woman in middle age and old she has exactly the same kind of attitude toward enslaved americans that southerners had which is the
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inability to understand them as humans. >> when james madison dies and doesn't free slaves, everyone begins to blame dolley. part of that is fine because she starts selling slaves as soon as she can. rootst about her quaker affected the kind of woman she became if this aspect did not >> i think we're back to the empathy thing. >> the peacemaking. the idea you don't make war. >> do we know if she counseled her husband against going to war since quakers don't believe in fighting wars. >> we don't know. if you read her letters she's as partisan as anybody. she has the white house defensiveness.
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i think she probably supported him 100% in what he decided to do but her own nature was always to conciliate. >> how did dolley feel about women's education? >> what we know about her was she was a very well educated woman for her day, any class. we're not sure how she got there because she was a southerner and southerners did not educate their girls. we know from her handwriting that she was very well educated. she never had a daughter so we don't know what she would have done but i'm sure she would have given her daughter a good education. >> the quakers believed in educating women as well as men so she benefited from that. she takes that background with
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her into the first ladies role. >> what qualities did she see in james madison when he was so much her opposite? attract i think on sits many times. i think she was very impressed with his intellect understand private he was thought to be very amusing and very entertaining. and so i think that's the side of him that she saw while they were courting. >> and it's interesting that aaron burr provided the link between the two. you get the sense of these people who were part of the american cannon were a small community. >> it's a small world. and james madison fell in love with her and was very romantic. he was in his mid 40's and had never married which was odd. marriage is a very pragmatic business in this age and love isn't necessarily part of it. so dolley's approach to the marriage was pragmatic.
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he would be a protector of her son. as the marriage went on she fell deeply in love with james. marriage was a pragmatic business and she had a son to protect and property to be managed. >> and someone who would do that honestly and well. >> and had a reputation for running his own family plantation in virginia. >> rick is up next in kansas. >> hello. good evening. you ladies are good. >> thanks, rick. >> two questions if you would. first, did ms. madison travel abroad, if , so when and who did she visit? first among modern time ladies who might she compare with? >> did dolley madison travel abroad? >> >> i don't think she ever
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travel add broad. >> diplomats were amazed by that because she was so converse nt and she was a diplomatic wife so they did marvel that she had that quality. >> and how did she get her knowledge of french fashions for example? >> if you were dolley madison, you could not go anywhere whether it was a city in america or france without having to shop for her. becamery early on she the patriot jay of the french minister's wife and she schooled her as well. >> she hired a master of ceremonies in the white house who was french and familiar with all of the diplomatic niceties shall we say so that he would explain to her what kind of food was served and what the french taste was and what french qui sin was about so she had a number of people who helped school her in this type of
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thing. >> the white house staff is large d all of this come from the money that they were paid or from their personal wealth, all these extra staff and advisors that you talk about? >> probably most of them did. for instance, one of the things she hired as they called him french john away from the minister from great britain which was a huge slap tofment hire somebody away from somebody else's household particularly when that person was in the diplomatic community was an insult on the one hand or a great coo on the other. and she was able to do that. >> a lot of resources went to creating the out fits. she got the bills and she was like don't tell my husband.
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between buying the stuff and paying the duties on it, it was quite a lot. >> i wanted to ask you about the maryland component of this fleeing of the white house during the war. >> i wanted to ask you about the maryland component of this fleeing of the white house during the war. my understanding is that there is a house in brookville maryland that is called white house for a day and my understanding is that madison arrived at that house and conducted business from there and i wondered whether dolley madison was part of that or whether there was some kind of a transition from virginia to aryland?
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>> i do not know the answer to that question. >> that gives us another stop in this. stump the panel. >> another place to check out, the white house for a day you tell us about. >> i was going to go back and answer or give my opinion about the second part of the question was who would she compare to in the present. and i would say jacqueline kennedy. i think she looked at imagining her husband's administration and recreating the white house for the stage for diplomacy through her renovation of the white house in the same way dolley looked at the white house as a stage and imagined her husband's presidency. so i see a lot of comparable activity and things that she was trying to achieve as was acqueline kennedy. > and jacqueline kennedy
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referenced dolley. she was a fan and definitely referenced her in the re dog of the white house. >> and she had to love the french furniture. >> with regard to the renovation of the white house, if you go to the white house today, can you see evidence of he torching by the british? >> there are places in the basement where you can see burned timbers. i know when they did the restoration of the white house, they found a lot of charred wood and charred bricks and so orth that were taken out and saved as remnants from the ire. >> we're showing some pictures of some of the charring right now. >> you can see it on the trim of the balcony too. laura bush told me president bush showed the prime minister. >> how complete it was destruction? >> pretty complete inside.
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>> how long did it take to rebuild it? >> the mad sons didn't move back in. it wasn't until the monroe's dministration that they were able to move back in the white house so i would say a couple of years. >> about 18 minutes and it's time to move. a complex part of our history and long life to the retirement after the madison administration. james and dolley return to their beloved montpelier in virginia and we're going to visit that place next. >> if you were a visitor you would enter here and be shown into the madison's great drawing room. mrs. madison had many lady friends she would invite here. he daughters of thomas jefferson were also frequent visitors. her most intimate circle included her families, her
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sisters especially were always welcome guests as well as many nieces she had who often stayed or extended visits here. the drawing room combined many different themes into one. you see many of the faces of the great american statesman, but you see figures of classical antiquity. you have a reproduction of the declaration of independence. have you a miniature of homer, the writer of the great epics of grease. then you have a painting of pan nd youths. this was 200 years old when they purchased it. in the way of blending the classical and american they were trying to place the events in world history. this is a room where all the guests would assemble before dinner and have a chance to
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meet one another and converse socially and casually and then they might be invited to dine in the dining room. fter supper the ladies would adjourn back into the drawing room and maybe play a game and e served coffee and tea. this was a social center of the house. if you were a part of the intimate circle of friend you would be invited into the dining room from the drawing room. here dolley madison in an unusual setting for the period would is it at the head of the table and her husband would is it at the middle of the table. dolley would direct the conversation and james could ngage in conversation with the people to his right or left. this table today is set for eight people but there could be as many people as 20 served in
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the dining room. that would not be unusual. she considered dining here to be more relaxing than entertaining in washington. she was less worried serving 100 people here than 20 in washington. >> many important figures would be seated with them. thomas jefferson was frequently here. james monroe was here. henry clay. margaret smith. once while mrs. madison was serving at the head of the table the vice president offered to do the honors for her and she responded oh no, watch with what ease i do it. and he had to admit she did it with unparalleled ease. >> and looking at their life
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when they returned there, how was it compared to when they lived in the white house? >> i think they were besieged by people who wanted to associate themselves with the mad sons. many visitors in addition to -- political visitors in addition o family and friend. sort of like the washingtons nd the jeffersons. everybody wanted to meet the great percentages. so they had people in the house with them. not only relatives but many political visitors as well. >> she was devoted to him and getting his papers together in that role. was she happy doing that? >> yes, that the point she loved her husband very much. that is where he wanted to stay and so she stayed as well. the descriptions of her at this time werent the same.
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she's described as content, adam and eve in paradise. she definitely missed washington. she would write and say tell me all the news and she would omplain a little bit i haven't been out. keep me up to date and let me know what is happening. for her own self-she probably would have wanted to go back to washington for a visit but james madison was going to stay put. >> she was 49 years old when she left the white house. e was 17 years her senior. she worked to involve him when he was in the last days of his final illness. before we talk about her years back in washington because she lived until the age of 81 and was very much involved in the ugust. >> i have a couple of comments
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about dolley madison's clothing and fashion and then i have a uestion. i used to be a dozen at the north carolina historical museum and we happen to have some of her belongings which includes the original of that red velvet dress we saw. also we own a pink silk dress she wore while she was first lady. and what was interesting about that piece of clothing was when we had it conserved by the people of williamsburg irginia. they found that the tiny but tons on the front of the dress were filled with dried eas.
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so that's what her dress maker did for her with french fashion also as she grew older and her hair became very very thin, she did have some real human hair curls sewed into her turbins and put that on in the morning with her curls showing and she looked younger she thought. the way the greensboro historical museum came into possession of these wonderful items including beautiful silk shoes and carved ivory calling cases is they received it from some folks who brought a trunk at auction that was sort of a hidden treasure. and i want to know what these ladies know about the finding of that trunk that was hidden behind a wall. and i want to say it was in philadelphia. but i want to know how the person that had that hidden behind the wall got those very important things and had hem?
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>> i'll answer quickly because i want to say this is happening in the 1950's and 1960's so not that long ago. the story of ladies historical society found and financed this deserves a television program f its own. they raised money one chicken dinner at a time paid the sum of $25,000 to get this stuff. >> is that close to where she was born s. that where the connection was? >> the ladies felt like she was north carolina's only born first lady. you can go there now and see part of that. >> dolley madison returns to washington after the death of her beloved james. how does she spend her years ere? >> she become it is grand am of washington society once again. because people know about her
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poverty but don't want to confront her with it, people in the white house, the tylers invite her to come to dinner on many occasions. he younger first ladies always ask her advice on entertaining and handling large crowd of people. so she becomes sort of an ex-first lady advisor. and that's how she happened to do the match making between angel casington and van buren the son. she's in the mix again and very much a behind the scenes player again. >> this is not a tragic ending. she manages to live a well known involved life. >> i think it was lonely without james. eventually she sold. you remember this is her
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town. she worked for 16 years to build this town and the president's mansion as a symbol. it was under her tenure that the president's mansion got a nickname the white house. she can be credited with the nationalism around the end of the war of 1812. when she comes back to washington it is like the past came to light. she wore many of the same clothes. she was poor. but of coursed the this expect of making her seem like a relic from an rare >> was that her real name? >> it was indeed. hough again her niece tried to perpetuate this idea that she
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was named dorothy. but she was dolley and trying to figure out why her family tried -- back to the scandalous rumors about her sex al fair with thomas jefferson and they thought that was too common a name for her but she was dolley and her birth is recorded that way. >> with or without the e. >> you see it spelled sometimes without. >> that's advertising. now the icon. >> john is in pennsylvania. > yes i was wondering if dolley madison's first husband john todd was related to abraham lincoln's wife mayor todd. >> i have no idea. >> i'm going to say what is important about that is marry todd brooded that about. > when mary todd comes to down
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ecade later and dolley madison set the example. mary todd tries to ride on her coat tails. but she does not have dolley's sense of tone. she's tone death when it comes to that. >> is it true dolley's son from er first marriage gambled away much of her money? >> that and drinking. >> that will do it. >> yes. >> did he continue his relationship with his mother in later years? >> no she did not. >> your question about dolley madison? > i'm questioning what's the relationship between ms. madison and ms. polk and harrison. >> and harrison. > i think the polks became
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friend. people wanted to associate themselves with dolley after she came back to the capitol city and it was cash shea by association so the polks often invited her to dine with them and take part in parties and so forth in the we should tell people about congress awarding er a seat. >> i call this her iconic phase when she becomes a symbol. she's awarded a seat on the floor of congress with escorts. she's the only woman to do it and for a woman to do it. there is a lot of attention being paid to her and she
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starts to become a symbol even as she's living. >> did she avail herself in the debates 234 congress? >> one of the things she did or other women is that she would go to the debates and go and watch the supreme court argue and that allowed other women to do that as well. >> that was a way of bringing the women into a knowledge of what was going on politically so while they were part of this social network that she was setting up in washington, they could also be part of the political networks as well. she would get the women together and they would go up to capitol hill. she called them dove parties. >> debbie on facebook didn't paul jennings give her money at the end of her life when she was so poor? >> money and groceries, yes. >> you spoke about how she was
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writing a letter to her sister in the midst of evacuating the white house. how did it get posted or did she hold on to it? >> we only have this letter in her fair hand. so in 1830's when she's thinking about her legacy. she wants stuff from dolley madison. she's caution. and she mentioned this letter, we don't have the original. we have a caller: which margaret smith reproduces. there is an art cal that suggest that dolley may have at heard the for his sake. >> that's a good pr move. >> pam, you're our last aller.
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>> i wanted to ask whether dolley madison had any kind of relationship with james monroe's wife who i know travelled in europe and i believe was born in england and whether she had any grandchildren through her son? >> thank you very much. that helps us set the stage for a future conversation d. they have a relationship? >> not terribly much new york city. they knew each other as plantation owners in the same area but they were not friendly and there were no children. >> we would say no legitimate issue as they would say. >> as we close here, here is a quote from dolley madison, we all have a hand in the formation of our own destiny. we must press on that intricate path leading to perfection and happiness by doing all that is good and hand some before we
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can be taken under the silver wing of that angel. >> she's important for several reasons which she does set the role of first lady. for historians we look at her and she let's us know the role of aristocracy in this great democracy, why does this matter? and i think for dolley madison what she's offered suss a model of governance that stresses civility and empathy. she's modeling this for us. she's not going to win. we need examples and role models and her way of conducting politics, stressing building bridges and not bunkers is a model we can use for the future. >> i think she's very important
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as katherine says for bringing those models but also for bringing women into the political mix at a very early time period. and her conciliation or her abilities to bring people together. wouldn't it be nice if we had her back in washington now. >> we only skimmed the surface in 90 minutes of 81 entering years of life. if you want to learn more. i thank the white house historical association for their help in this series.
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>> first ladies influence and image continues in a moment.
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>> elizabeth monroe was a true partner in her husband's career. they were a love story and absolutely devoted to each other. elizabeth monroe had a well-developed sense of style and image. this is a woman who knew how to carry herself with great legance. >> it is called the era of good feeling. >> this is a woman who spoke rench. > very great beauty.
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she received is seldom anything in the white house. he hated it. >> dignity, civility. those are the words that come to mind. > elizabeth monroe served as irst lady from 1817 to 1825 as a time known as the era of good feeling. coming up, we will explore her life and what were not always happy times inside the white house for this woman born into a well-to-do new york family. she married james monroe at the age of 17 and traveled new york extensively with him. she brought with her to the white house a certain french sensibility. welcome to c-span and the white house historical association's "first ladies." we will look at the life of elizabeth monroe. let me introduce two uests.
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daniel preston and richard norton smith. entlemen, welcome. the last program was dolley madison. she really used the social forum to advance her husband's political agenda. what was elizabeth monroe's approach to the white house? >> she and dolley madison were great friends. they were at a very different emperaments. dolley madison was social by nature and was happy to get in her carriage and go visit all day long. elizabeth monroe wanted to stay home with her family. she was devoted to her daughter, her grandchildren,
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nd, at the white house, that is what she really enjoyed and that is what she wanted to do. she wanted to be with her family. she did not like large crowds. she was very uncomfortable at the large receptions the president had. she was very charming in smaller groups. when there was a small circle of friends together, everyone praised her charm, her affability, her conversation, said she sparkled. just a very different type of person. >> explain washington in this time and how important social was to political. >> it is interesting. these years were known as the ra of good feelings. you could probably take issue with that in the second erm.
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by that point, we were as close to being a one-party state as any time in american history. the old federalist party had ied off. there was a standoff that most americans were willing to consider a victory. we had established once and for all our independence, and it was a time of actually great boom in the country, a physical expansion, and a number of states came into the union during monroe's day. washington city remained a very raw, incomplete place with dirt roads. in some ways, elizabeth monroe uffers for her strength. they are both seen as somehow alien.
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she was born in this country. see had her blossoming overseas, and france especially. the monroes became famous for the frenchness in which they approached life in the white house. and you can see it in the furniture they bought and the food they serve. there was also an element that took exception to a first lady who somehow did not seem quite american enough. > let's take a look at statistics about america in 1820. it is a booming country, with a population of 9.6 million. 23 states. that is a 33% growth since the 1810 census. slaves in the population numbered 16%. the largest cities, new york city, philadelphia, and baltimore. boston fell off the list. >> there were only three roads in 1800 over the appalachian mountains.
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during the monroe years, you ave the canal being dug in new york that will transform the economy. ou have the road under construction from the capital to what is now west virginia. we had a whole debate going on about internal improvements and what the role of the federal government should be and all that. this is a country poised for economic take off. he presided much like eisenhower presided over a period of peace and prosperity. >> as you work your way, how much evidence is there about elizabeth monroe? >> there is not a lot. based upon what her elder daughter reported, at some oint after he left the presidency, monroe burned all personal correspondence. there is one letter that
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survives that is written by elisabeth. there is one letter from james to her that survived. what baffles me and drives me nuts is there is only one letter she wrote to somebody else. he had extensive correspondence with her sister and friends and these letters do not seem to be anywhere. i do not understand why not. it seems like somebody would have kept some of these. consequently, having firsthand evidence of what she thought about things, we do not have. there are letters monroe wrote to his daughters, to his two sons and laws, to his political advisers, that talk about family matters. he wrote letters home talking about meeting mrs. monroe, other women in washington
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recorded in their diaries. there is a fair amount about her. we do not have really anything from her point of view, which is very maddening. >> what we know from what we have about her relationship with her husband? > they were devoted. hey were apart for a couple of months here and there. throughout their 44-year marriage. usually, they were together. there is a wonderful letter. samuel from new york wrote his wife. he had been at a dinner at the white house when jefferson was president and it was right
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before monroe left to go to france to negotiate what became the louisiana purchase. he wrote, monroe has a fine feeling. he cannot stand to be from his wife, so he is taking her with him. that was pretty much their attitude. he was devoted to family, as well. that is really what they wanted to do. if they had their choice of how they would spend their time, it would be with their family. >> this program is interactive. e invite your phone calls. you can reach us at --
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et me turn to a facebook oster. "we have heard elizabeth monroe did not like being first lady." >> she did not like the public parts of it. she married james monroe when she was a member of the continental congress. through their entire adult life, he was in one public office or the other. she was very much used to him being a public figure, being the governor of virginia, being abroad as a minister of the united states serving as secretary of state. to go to the white house was not anything that unusual. it was not anything unexpected. people had talked about monroe being president for years. it was assumed sooner or later it would happen. as far as what the public thought about her, i do not know. we know what people in washington thought about her and people who visited washington. and that is a very small universe. here were 200 members of the ouse of representatives, about
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50 senators. there were at a handful of cabinet members, a few foreign dignitaries, local people. the washington social circle was maybe 500 people. that was the world of social washington. it is a very small group of people. hat is who met her and reflected on her. people did not know her. when monroe was president, he did two tours around the country and they were phenomenal because no one ever saw the president. no one ever heard the president talk. we cannot go through a day, hardly. you have to be sealed up to go through a day without hearing the president's voice or to see an image of him. a man in massachusetts wrote in 1870 that for the first time, he had seen a picture, an image of president monroe. james madison gave three
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speeches during his presidency. thomas jefferson gave two. people never saw the president or heard the president. there really is not a public erception. it is a good question. ut it is a different time. >> the white house was burned by the british and the madisons had to leave while it was being constructed. the monroes moved back in. how important was this ymbolically? >> even by then, the white house had become america's house. one of the reasons why its occupants have been targeted often for criticism, much of it not fair, it is because we all
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think it is our house. rs. monroe would be criticized for an alleged obsession for fashion. she paid up to $1,500 for her gown. it was alledged she painted her face, applying ruche. as silly as it sounds now, it takes us back almost to a debate at the very beginning about what kind of nation this would be. >> it really reflects to this day the monroe administration, the blue room at the white house. we will show you this clip next. >> if i could go back to one
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time in the white house, i would probably go back to the monroe period. the united states began to come to life. monroe thought the era of good feeling would last forever. and political parties would issolve. think that would be the period i would like to listen to what was going on. in furnishing the house, james monroe and his wife were into french everything. he spent a lot of money bringing these things, such as these clocks, from france. many of the things he acquired are still in use. >> when you see our earliest things, many of them are in the blue room.
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we have the wonderful chairs and sofas in the room. they were acquired by president monroe from france. ongress in 1826 passed a law saying the furniture in the white house must be american anufactured if applicable. this room is much more of a period room. it is really a place where the monroe's would feel the most comfortable. they would walk in and say, i understand this room, a furniture we brought. this is wallpaper of our vintage.
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>> it sounds like speaking french might have been as controversial then as today. >> yes. it goes back to the beginning of washington and the first presidency of trying to balance the new republican standards, simplicity and openness, but at the same time somehow maintaining a dignity and a majesty for the national government. how do you be open but at the same time present the country as being something special, particularly for visitors? for them, the white house became the tool for doing that. monroe was praised. people who met him always commented on what a plain, straightforward person he was.
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then you look at how he furnished the white house. it is very different. monroe very much understood the importance of symbolism. it was to present the united states in a fashion that, majesty is the best word. you do it in the president's house. >> not only majestic. the monroes actually befriended when they lived in paris. the president originally ordered 50 pieces of mahogany furniture. he was told by the french that mahogany was not appropriate. this is what he got in its
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place. >> here is a tweet. "did the monroes face any lingering problems in the white house due to the burning?" what state of repair was it in when they got there? >> it was not ready in march of 870 when monroe became president. they lived in another house for several months. on june, monroe left washington nd went on a four-month tour and his family went back to virginia. he returned to the president's house and at that point, it was ready for occupancy.
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they began moving furniture in. the furniture they ordered was not ready. he used his own personal furniture. they borrowed furniture from elsewhere. it was a haphazard way to furnish the house. some of the rooms were still empty. the house was in pretty good shape. it was not like it was when the adams moved in. it was in fairly good shape. there was not furniture for t. >> i will take a call. watching us in virginia, you are on. >> hi. i had understood that elizabeth monroe suffered from poor health. i do not know if it is true or what she had. i was wondering if that affected her ability to be so public and social when that was so much a part of the politics vs. dolley madison. is there any information about how she was able to function socially with poor health? >> that is a great question. that is part of why she was an almost invisible first ady.
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she had serious health roblems. she had excruciating headaches. it was thought she suffered from arthritis. there were a number of people who believed she may have had a ate onset epilepsy, known as the falling disease, at that point. that is something that would
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have been kept a secret from the public. one of the byproducts of her poor health, she also had stand in her place her daughter, eliza. it is her daughter who is responsible for a number of these actions blamed on her mother. it gave off an aura of snobbery. the first white house wedding of the president's daughter took place. eliza took over reparations. it was she who said, this is a family affair. you talk about those 500 or 600 people. and number of them thought they should have been invited to the wedding. for the historical reputation, we have access to that, but we do not have her side of the story. >> to make connections, during her second term, somebody was beginning to fill in the social gap of washington and that was adams. she used the network to campaign for presidency. >> the adams were much more socially oriented. they had weekly suarez of
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various sizes. the monroes did not go. hey felt it was improper for the president to attend these sorts of private functions, particularly in his second term, when there was a scramble for the presidency, including his cabinet members. he wrote a letter to his attorney general about something and at the end, he said, i hope you will come visit us in virginia. you are always welcome. >> it feels very modern. >> what happens is we have a one-party state. we now have the politics -- a second term was be set from the beginning with this jockeying for 1824. >> up next in texas, what is your question? >> going back to a former
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series, what was president monroe's relationship with his vice president and who was the ice president? >> it was the most obscure vice president in american history. that says something. >> tompkins had been a wartime governor of new york and was chosen as a running mate because he had been a strong supporter of the madison administration during the war.
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also, the new yorkers were unhappy with the luck that virginia had on the presidency and the vice president was chosen for political reasons. tompkins was horribly in debt as governor. he was responsible for borrowing a lot of money. it literally drove him to drink. he became heavily alcoholic to the point he could not preside over the senate. they were friends. y 1821, he was totally ncapacitated and he died shortly after his term as vice president. he may have been more prominent on the national scene had he lived longer. >> on twitter -- >> it is a great question. there are a lot of americans who are french sympathizers in heir politics. rom the early days, europe was at war, and there were lots of
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mericans remembering the assistance during the revolution who sympathize with the french revolution. one of the great stories, we hould probably ground the time they spent in france. >> we will do that next. >> then i will save this story. >> why do we not move on to that? after a call from mark in los angeles. you are on the air. >> please tell us about her relationship with the lafayettes. and how she saved mrs. lafayette from the uillotine. >> be careful with this. >> why were they in france? >> they were in france in the mid 1790's. james had been appointed the u.s. minister to france. they arrived to paris a week after pierre had been guillotined. it was the height of the reign
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of terror. lafayette had been forced to flee france for not supporting the more radical elements of the revolution. his wife was not able to leave. she and her mother and other family members were arrested nd imprisoned. her mother was executed. morris, who had been minister before monroe, had tried to get her out of prison. morris was not popular with the french government at all, since he had condemned the revolution and said he supported the monarchy. when the monroes came, they staged a very dramatic event to draw attention to elizabeth onroe. excuse me, to madame lafayette. they hired a very expensive carriage.
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elizabeth monroe dressed herself in her best and went to prison, asked to see her. they did not know what to do. they wanted to see who this person was coming in this carriage. it was the wife of the american minister. she met with madame lafayette. she basically made her case a ublic one. she was released a couple of months later. it pretty much kept her from going to the guillotine and did lead to her release. the monroes enabled her to go to austria and join her husband. her husband was in prison in austria. she got out of prison in paris and went to austria and voluntarily went to prison in austria so she could be with her husband.
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>> what were americans' views f this rescue? >> i do not know if they knew about it at the time. the story does not get told until much later. what we know most about it is what monroe wrote in his autobiography. it was not published until years later. this story did not become current until well after the event. >> james monroe met eliza in new york city when she was just a teenager, 17 years of age. virginia became an important part of their lives in between their various political postings. we will show you two places important to them next. >> the james monroe museum has been in existence since 1927,
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when his great granddaughter had an effort of preserving his law office that existed here in the city of fredericksburg in the 1780's. we had the largest assemblage of artifacts and other information related to the family that you will find anywhere in the country. elizabeth monroe was a true partner in her husband's career and a good sounding board for many of the decisions he had. she was a literate and articulate person and someone to whom her husband could go for very valuable advice. with the items on the table here, we go through an arc of elizabeth monroe's life. she had the heritage of a very well-developed sense of style. she had shoes she employed we believe were her mother's, very fine construction from london that she continue to use in her lifetime. as the mistress of oakville,
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she was responsible for maintaining the household accounts. she did it on a small, ivory pad. they are ivory pieces with days of the week. your to-do list could be listed on her with a charcoal pencil and they were done. it reflects someone who was organized, busy and making use of a very practical item in her life. the relationship that mrs. monroe had with her sisters was a strong bond in very much the style of the time and giving a gift of sisterly love, she presented to one of her sisters in the 17 the 0's jewelry made from her own hair. jewelry made of human hair became very common place in the 18th and 19th centuries. later in the 19th century, it's often associated with mourning in memorializing dead loved ones. it also can be an express of a very personal sign of affection.
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really the essence of a personal gift. music was an important part of elizabeth monroe's upbringing and life. she appreciated music throughout her life and was trained in playing the piano. we have an astor piano forte, 1790, a british product. we believe it was used at the white house during their residency there. elizabeth monroe had a well developed sense of style and image. she did not have as well developed a budget due to the long years of public service that james monroe put in, but they were particularly on their european postings able to make some pretty good deals on a variety of items. her jewelry is a reflection of that. mrs. monroe had elements of high quality with versatility. we have here necklaces and their associated other jewelry that are in aqua marine and
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citrine, each can be worn with or without a pendant. you have a couple of different uses there. a broach, a bracelet or a choker is possible with the amethyst jewelry. she had several options in her ombinations. >> the monroes came up here after purchasing this property, some 3,500 acres and made this their permanent home from 1789 ntil 1823. mrs. monroe, a sophisticated "new yorker" and moved south to this farm had to adjust to plantation life here. so far as we know, she adjusted to it very nicely and her gay would frequently begin down here. she would make sure that all the preparations that needed to be made for the meals of the day took place in a correct and fastidious fashion and she was in charge of that, in charge of
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the, what they called the servants. they were house slaves in making sure the house slaves made all of the preparations and then she in turn would make sure that some meals were put together. sometimes some of those meals were quite sophisticated meals. or while the meals here were much simpler than what she would find at monticello, and they liked to go there for the extraordinary meals. nevertheless, mrs. monroe was capable of putting together extraordinary dishes here. here we are in the dining oom. the meal would begin after
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2:00, sometimes at late as 3:00. it would be earlier depending on the season and the light available. the table, it can be opened up so that 12 people could sit at this table. now the monroes had a corner cabinet very much like this one. the nice thing about this is that this piece was made in the shenandoha valley just 70 miles to the west of us. inside what is particularly significant is you see the monroe white house chinaware the monroes established that each president would have china of his own. before that, the presidents ould bring their own china from home. the monroes brought this china to the white house during onroe's administration between 1817 and 1825. we count ourselves very lucky that we have what we do. >> how important was virginia in understanding elizabeth monroe? >> monroe made a joke later in life. a friend who was a member of congress from tennessee married a woman from pennsylvania and
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took her home to tennessee and there was a little bit of trepidation about whether she would adapt or not. and monroe wrote to him and said, i'm sure mrs. campbell will do ok. mrs. monroe was a little uneasy about leaving new york, but she has become a good virginian. so she teamed to have fit in the life very easily. something along those lines that really said a lot about her character from very young is, as we mentioned, she was very young. she was 17 when she married monroe. he was 28. she was from new york. he was a member of the continental congress. in october of 1786 he finished his term in congress. they went to virginia. she left her family with whom she was very close, all of her friends. went to fredricksburg, virginia, went from new york city to little dinky fredricksburg, didn't know anybody. they bounced along the bad roads from new york to fredricksburg not knowing where she was going, what was going to happen when she got there. she was seven months shy -- months shy of 18, seven months pregnant.
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the grueling trip and the stamina that she had to make the trip and she could do it. >> the monroes had three children, a son who died in infancy and two daughters, we talked about them in articular. the question comes from someone who calls themselves president pondering. this will wrap up our understanding. how involved in politics was elizabeth monroe, how might they have viewed the monroe doctrine? >> i don't mean to, for years, there was people that suspected john quincy adams wrote it. elizabeth didn't write it. just about everybody else got credit for it. it's interesting. there is one point where he efers to her as his partner in
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all things. one senses, although, there is an unfortunate lack of documentation that that would include sharing his political secrets with her. i don't think of her, certainly in the modern sense as a political figure. she was certainly aware of what he was doing. we only have one letter that she wrote, but there are letters of her handwriting that she copied for him to either make copies to send to others or to keep. she was certainly aware of what was happening. they were together for so long and they were so close that it's inconceivable that they did not discuss public matters. she was certainly very much well aware of what was happening. >> and having lived through the french revolution, the reign of terror, she certainly would have had strong opinions about the approach to europe, you would imagine. >> yes. >> rachel from pensacola.
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>> hi, yes, i was wondering, back to the blue room, did president or mrs. monroe actually make a list of furniture? does anyone know that? >> thank you. >> i don't think he stipulated, it was president monroe who sent off this order. i don't think he stipulated specific pieces of furniture. >> he wrote to contacts, to merchants that he dealt with in france and we need chandeliers, we need design. he wanted the american symbols, the eagles and those sort of things.
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they undoubtedly talked about this. when they were abroad in europe and friends would write and ask for them to buy things for them, it was usually elizabeth who did the purchasing. >> general of sherman offers this view on twitter. the monroe china was beautiful, simple and classic. it's the first presidential china and at least one person in the audience who gives it a thumb's up. our time has evaporated on elizabeth monroe. in 20 seconds or less, can you tell us what people should know about this woman's tenure as first lady, what did she contribute? >> elegance. she brought a sense of style. she was known for her beauty, for her sense of fashion, but mostly for her elegance, bringing a sense of real style. if i was going to compare her to a modern modern first lady, not so modern, 50 years ago, i
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would think of jacquelyn kennedy with that sense of fashion and style and elegance that she brought to the white house. >> daniel press-on, thank you so much for being here. >> thank you for having me here. next will move on to our first lady profile, that of louisa catherine adams. we'll be right back. >> she was the only first lady born outside the u.s. louisa catherine adams, writing in her diary in 1812 about the loss of her 1-year-old daughter, my heart is almost broken, and my temper which was never good suffers in proportion to my grief. my heart is buried in my louisa's grave and my greatest longing is to be laid beside her. a letter entry, it is the first tuesday and opens my campaign having given a general invitation for every tuesday during the winter. this plan makes some noise and creates some jealousy but it makes our congress less
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dependent on the foreign ministers for their amusement. i wish they may prove so. and to her son, the situation in which we found the house made it necessary to fur finish almost entirely anew a large portion of the apartments. i respect my masters the sovereign people with great sincerity but i am not so much alarmed at the idea of going out at the end of four years as to desire to make any sacrifice of actual comfort for the sake of prolonging my so journey in this would be magnificent habitation which after all like every thing else in this but an halfy is finished barn. >> louisa catherine adams almost disappeared. unsungis sort of an
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first lady who deserves much more exploration than she has received. >> the relationship between louisa and john quincy is elusive and in many ways distressing. i don't think he realizes what a treasure he had. it's interesting because his father did. old john adams took to her. abigail never really did, but john did. >> she was born in england and educated in france and she remained a phone personality to many of the adams, but not to henry as a world traveler herself. she was very well educated, very sophisticated socially i would say. she sort of entertained john quincy's road to the white house. about was not happy returning to washington as the wife of a congressman. >> louisa catherine adams essentially became the campaign manager for her husband, john
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quincy adams' run for the presidency in 1824 by dominating the capital city's social circuit. following a contested election, the adams' four years in the white house were a turbulent period in american politics and washington society. we'll look at louisa adams' relationship with her husband john quincy adams and john and abigail on the road to 1600 pennsylvania avenue. good evening and welcome to our continuing series on first ladies influence and image in partnership with the white house historical association. the next installment is on louisa catherine adams, the wife of john quincy adams. we have two guests at the table, richard norton smith and meet amanda matthews. she is at the massachusetts historical society where she is a research associate for the adams papers. ms. matthews, we learned there was not much documentary evidence about elizabeth monroe.
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how about louisa catherine adams, what exists? >> quite a wealth. she kept diaries intermittently. she wrote autobiographies and memoirs. there are hundreds and hundreds of letters of hers. we have her thoughts and feelings from her point of view, both reflective and contemporary as the events were taking place. >> another suggested that in her research she saw louisa adams as the first modern first lady. do you agree with that contention that she developed a sense of self? >> in some ways she has her own cause. she works with the washington female orphan asylum, so in that way it's somewhat modern having this cause that she was involved in and she does work politics in her parlor in such a way as to help win the presidency for her husband in her own way. >> well, richard norton smith, explain to people how the
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presidency was won in 1820's, it was a very different system than we have today? >> it was. as we said earlier, everyone in monroe's cabinet seemed among others that wanted to succeed him including john quincy adams, secretary of state. the great popular hero was andrew jackson, a controversial figure in his own right. there was a multicandidate field. no one got a majority, either of the popular or electoral vote. in both cases jackson came in first, adams came in second. so the election went to the house of representatives. the man eliminated by the constitution, the fourth place finishing, henry clay ultimately threw his support to adams. it was enough to win him the presidency which turned out in many ways to be a poisoned chalice. from day one there were charges of corruption. they hung over the adams
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presidency, i think it's safe to say. adams sent an apologetic note in his inaugural address. it was the election of 1828 began almost before he took the oath of office. >> you mentioned in her own way, she helped him win the presidency. she actually began to refer to it as my campaign. it was the second half of the -- second half of the monroe administration where the social etiquette wars were in full force. the adams saw an opportunity as seeing social washington as a pathway to the white house. how did they do it? >> when they get back in 1817 to washington, they have been gone from washington for quite a while. john quincy has served in st. petersburg and washington and he is back. a lot of people in washington don't know him. the way the etiquette situation works in washington right now, it really favors people who have been there for a while. so they want to shake things up.
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one of the ways they do that is we're not going to call on all of the senators' families first which is how you make a social connection. on the other hand, let's invite you, we are going have these parties. you can come, even if we haven't connected in these formal visits. that kind of put them in a position of power as a social leader because they were making the rules now, kind of trying to take back a little bit of power that congress had, louisa said that congress makes and unmakes presidents at their with him. their whim. they wanted to pull a little bit of that back to the executive. they start throwing these parties. she has her sociable it's in 1819, some seasons weekly, and other seasons every two weeks where hundreds of people would come. it was a subscription series. they kind of become the center of entertainment in washington. >> one of these balls that she threw was for a contender for the white house, andrew jackson.
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what was her thinking in involving her husband's rival? >> it's simple. so many people came to the house that night on f street that they had to show up the floors for something like 900 people who attended. i wish i would have loved to have been a fly on the wall. louisa must have been a remarkable hostess. she had attracted attention. she had been a favorite in the prussian court when her husband was u.s. envoy there. czar alexander of russia made her one of his favorite dancing partners. there clearly was a charisma about this woman that had set her apart in the courts of europe. and tragically, it very rarely comes through in the american setting. you would know much more about that. >> i think it certainly does in the socioables. she complains that even though she had no political power,
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everybody seems to want to know her and spend time with them. she claims to be quite put out by the imposition. i think that the same charm that she exhibits in europe is still exhibited in the united states as this wonderful newspaper account of an englishman observing louisa, this is during the white house years. she is taking the bowl back to quincy and people are just coming up to her and talking to her as though she is the first lady, oh, we're dressed as well as she is and talking to her as if they had known her for 10 years. she must have been very affable and made people comfortable in her presence. >> you have read her diaries of these events. like her mother-in-law, she had candid views of the people she was meeting. we have one of them. tell us the context. she wrote, "i have the happiness of meeting with a variety of these misleaders who
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are either not gifted with common sense or have a sort of mind when which i have often met with utterly incapable of comprehending anything in a plain way, whether that's a natural defect in the formation of the brain, i will leave philosophers and metta physicians to decide." >> because campaigning is not allowed, john quincy can't come out and say i would like you to vote for me as president, the candidates can't do that and you can't ask for office directly, you have to kind of use these subtle back channels. women were a good conduit for that. and so people had louisa to spread their gossip, to ask for favors. she doesn't always -- she knows that she can't trust these people. she is not naive. a lot of them are spreading false gossip or false information. they're misleading.
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they all have their own agendas. she is aware of the political game that is going on. she is not terribly a fan of it. >> we welcome your questions on louisa and john quincy adams on the program. you can post on c-span's facebook page or send a tweet with #firstladies. >> you read that quote and you realize instantly why there was an instant bond formed between louisa and her father-in-law, old john adams. >> why is that? >> john adams was a man of strong opinions, very few, great reluctance to share them with anyone that would listen, a stern new england conscience, a profound sense of right and wrong and he and his exotic
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european daughter-in-law seemed to have hit it off from the first. abigail was a little bit harder sell. >> is it fair to say that john quincy adams was not the most sociable man? >> john quincy adams, even the people who admire j.q.a., i'm among them, would not suggest that he was a modern figure in terms of outreach to people generally, but more in terms of tonight's context, he would not have been an easy man to be married to. this is a stormy relationship. yet the adams argued over the same thing that couples argued over since there was marriage. they argued over money and their children. there were small tragedies in louisa catherine's life, a life that was filled with tragedy as far as her children were concerned. her husband was appointed minister to russia and at the
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last minute, her older sons, george washington adams and john adams ii are going to stay behind. she can't take her children with her to russia. they're going to stay behind with john and abigail to be raised as americans on american soil. you often get the sense of a woman who is powerless within her marriage to be making fundamental parental decisions, that they were reserved as most decisions were for john quincy. >> but she must have had the innate desire, she worked her heart out to get her husband to the white house. then she gets there and how does she enjoy her tenure? >> not very. not very much. the white house years are very unpleasant years for the adams
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and was readily apparently to everyone in the family, charles francis adams, their son, talks about it in his own diary of how sad the household seemed at the time. >> what made it that way? >> i think the cloud under which the presidency began, it never lifts. because this campaigning for 1828 begins almost instantly, louisa feels very personally the attacks on her husband, on his character, some attacks on her character, is she not american enough? situationat that really did not -- they finally reached the pinnacle and it's not a happy pinnacle. it's very, it's a very stormy four years for them. and the white house is not a very comfortable place to live. people coming in all the time and -- >> and here is one quote that really captures this had. she wrote, "there is something
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in this great unsocial house which depresses me beyond expression." >> well, she was accused of, bizarrely, of extravagance in the house. one was a billiard table which the first lady had purchased using the tax dollars of honest working men. somehow this very un-american quality that people wanted to read into her. on the other hand, there are these wonderful bizarre letters confirming her addiction to chocolate of louisa catherine adams was a chocoholic. i say being married to the sourest man in washington, she took her sweets where she could find them. apparently she had her sons and
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others buy chocolate shells by the barrelful and she writes about the medicinal qualities of fudge. i mean it was as if she took it where she could find them. that's pretty pathetic. >> i would say that the shells are probably not bon-bons. she is not sitting on her sofa munching. they're the cocoa bean shell. you would steep them in had water. it would be like coffee and you would add milk. she was interested in the medicinal qualities of it. i wouldn't go too far on john quincy's sourness. there is affection between the two of them and great love. otherwise she could have stayed in quincy. >> after they lost, i think, the daughter, is it true he gave her a book on the diseases of the mind? >> some months later, yes.
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>> it's the modernize, the insensitivity. he is certainly not a modern husband. louisa had by one count nine miscarriages. >> minimum five and a stiff birth, officially more. they are sometimes hard to read into it because of how discreet they are with their language. at least five with a still birth. she had a lot of tragedy. >> and three sons who lived to maturity. >> if you can call it maturity. >> speaking of their family, brian watkins asked on twitter, did having a former first lady as a mother-in-law help or hinder louisa? >> of course, abigail had passed by the time john quincy attained the presidency, so she can't ask her mother-in-law about handling the role and the role had somewhat shifted. louisa generally follows the presence that monroe set, not
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attending public functions. it did help. she was familiar with her mother-in-law's opinions and the way she had carried herself. i think that she wanted in some ways to keep that in mind and honor that. >> did she continue the entertaining that she had done to get him to the white house once they were in the white house? >> no, not to that degree. the sociables were informal. there was music, there was often dancing. once they get into the white house, the entertainments are much more restricted. they're open to a lot of people, especially the drawing rooms, but they're not, there is not that kind of dancing until actually the end of their term. as their on their way out, the last great drawing room, they actually have music and dancing and people stay until 2:00 in the morning and talk about how gracious the adams are knowing
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that they are, that they have failed in re-election and it's probably one of the greatest entertainments that they had in the four years. >> next is a question from leroy from kentucky. >> yes, ma'am. i am really enjoying this, this is great. >> thank you. >> were the adams family, john quincy and his wife, were they god fearing people, did they attend church and teach their children things of the lord? i'm a minister so i'm concerned about this. >> thank you. >> yes. louisa's religious views evolve over time. it's very interesting. her father was unitarian. she was raised in england where that was not an acceptable in england. she was raised in france so she was exposed to catholicism. the early years of her life with john quincy, they attend
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numerous types of churches, especially whoever the rotating preacher was in the capital during the secretary of state and presidency years could be presbyterian or unitarian. an ends up very much episcopal thinker, high church and is very, in her later years, she spends a lot of time reminiscing and reflecting on the role of religion and it's very much an important piece for her. >> next up is nick in prince frederick, maryland, hi, nick. >> first of all, thank you for this great program. i'm glad you are part of it. we have links to louisa catherine here. her uncle was one of maryland's first governors. the most we have is what of our
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town centers, we have a plaque. and a book where you get an impression of louisa catherine that she is very involved in the politics of washington. you don't get the sense of whether it is just a surface or whether her words are contributing to the compromises that are made during that time. would you mind commenting on those two things? >> that is louisa catherine's birth family. in maryland? do you know of them? >> her family was from maryland. her father was born in maryland. that is very important because that is how she makes her claim that she is an american. i met the war in london, but my father is an american. her uncle was the first
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governor of maryland. so, she has an important connection with maryland. she was able to use those when campaigning to get maryland to vote for john quincy adams the 1820 four election. >> how about the second question, how involved was she in the politics of the time? >> it has always been murky. there is no clear why between social politicking and the process leading to x number of votes being cast. one of the great skills begin with dolly madison, who understood that more could be achieved out of the committee room, off the floor of the house, in a social setting. louisa catherine is politically
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and attuned figure. i don't think you would find her dictating a platform. john quincy was 100 years ahead of his time. famously, in his first message to congress, -- remember this is a man whose legitimacy had been questioned. and yet, he introduced this breathtaking program that anticipates the new deal by 100 years. saying the federal government should we in the rowboat and business. there should be a national university and washington. he proposed a national astronomical observatory. a white house of the sky. for this, he was ridiculed by
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the jeffersonian small government crowd. it did nothing to enhance his popularity at the time. it may have contributed to his defeat for reelection. 100 years later, it looks prophetic. >> hi, jennifer. >> i am enjoying this series, i watch every week. >> thank you. >> my question is, and it may have been shown during the program, i am sorry if i have not noticed, but the portraits you have been showing of the two of them, louisa catherine and john quincy adams, was there a big age difference between them? >> thank you for asking. but explain how they met and with the age difference was. >> there is an eight year age difference. john quincy was born in 1767, louisa in 1775. they meet in london. if the resident minister in the netherlands.
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he is sent from there to london to exchange the ratification for the jay treaty. by the times he gets to london, the business is concluded so he does not have a lot to do. what he spends his time doing is visiting the house of the johnsons, joshua johnson, her father, was the u.s. consul at london. he entertained all the americans who came through to london. a prominent merchant in london and americans would come and socialize and enjoy evenings of entertainment with as many doctors, who are all talented. louisa play the harp. he would come and enjoy the company. after a little bit of time, made his intentions known that it was louisa and not her older sister, nancy, that he was interested in. they begin their courtship and engagement.
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>> after they married, did they return to the united states? >> not immediately. john quincy is appointed from the netherlands of the minister to prussia in berlin. this been the first four years of their marriage in berlin. she does not see the united states until 1801. the first four years are somewhat difficult. she has four miscarriages in the time before finally giving birth to her first son, george washington adams. that cause controversy, naming the first son after george washington and not john. >> when she arrived to the united states, it was the first time she had seen the country of your nationality. she went to the adams' home outside of boston. the place was known as peace field. we will show you that. ask when louisa and john quincy first came to the old house,
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they had just journeyed back from europe, landed in washington dc and made the journey up to hear. her health was not good at the time, and the journey was very difficult. she was brought to this has to to meet her father and mother in law. of that moment she would write, had i stepped onto noah's ark, i could not have been more utterly astonished. louisa catherine had a challenge in winning over abigail adams. john adams was easy, he took to her right away. she always felt are a comfortable and well liked by him. abigail is more skeptical. perhaps due to john quincy's teasing. he only gave abigail a little bit of information about louisa catherine. he was not forthright in his intentions. it was a surprise that he married louisa catherine so quickly. abigail did not get a chance to know her.
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she was quite concerned, although she was an american citizen, she had never been on american soil. this was not what she intended for her son. through time, she learned to grow and love and understand louisa catherine. through the years, they forged a very strong relationship. louisa catherine describing abigail adams as the planet around which all revolved. johna catherine and quincy, unlike john adams, if not live at peace field year- round. they only returned in the summer to get a relief from the politics of washington. her grandson, henry adams, remembered louisa catherine fondly. in his works, the education of the adams, he described louisa catherine and her role in this house and relationship with the family. he felt that she was the odd man out, because she was born in england and educated in france. she remained a foreign
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personality to many of the adams's. he recollects her sitting in her paneled room, using her silver tea pot that that she brought with her from her home in england to the old house. she would entertain both herself and many guest in this room. john quincy adams and louisa would inherit this home from john adams. i thought about selling it, but then decided that it was important to the family story to hold onto the house for future generations. >> you can visit there today. >> yes. >> wonderful. where the papers? >> they are at the massachusetts historical society in boston. they used to be at the old house would distill my very, but they were transferred to the historical society for
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safekeeping. >> a question on facebook from genie webber. i have read excerpts from her autobiography, it said the massachusetts historical society was going to publish the papers. is that true? >> yes. a two volume of her autobiographical writings, which includes a record of my life, adventures of a nobody, heard narrative of a journey from st. petersburg, france, and all her diaries have already been published in a scholarly edition. next year, a trade edition of these writings will be available. it has a forward by former first lady, laura bush. >> we must talk a little about st. petersburg and her incredible journey back to meet her husband. can you tell was important about that story? >> in st. petersburg, and the years were
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difficult areas it is cold, it is forbidding. there are not a lot of other women there. most of the diplomatic biased to not travel with her husband when they get sent there. louisaa baby girl, catherine adams, and the child dies after about a year. that really devastates her mother. it is very painful. john quincy is also very much torn apart by the death. the war of 1812 has broken out here. he is sent to negotiated treaty and leaves louisa with her youngest son, charles francis, in st. petersburg. when peace is resolved and he is sure he will be returning home or sent to london, he asks her to join him. she makes this arduous journey
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from st. petersburg in the winter to paris with a son who is only seven of the time. and a couple of servings that she only met that day. she does not know she can trust them. as she is crossing europe, she encounters dangerous travel conditions, and napoleon has escaped from elba and is coming back to france. she encounters the armies to greet him. she is crossing some very perilous territory in europe at this time. >> her life was in danger throughout this trip. >> here is another quote from her diaries -- it was 4:00 in the evening and the ice was in so critical a state, i could with difficulty procured men and horses to go over. they informed me i would have to make a long detour if i
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could not cross. >> absolutely. >> a carriage in the wintertime. >> again, the resourcefulness of this woman is extraordinary. >> why don't we know more about her interesting life story? why is she not better known among the first ladies? quincy'se john presidency has been obscured for so long, that diminished interest in her. what makes john quincy interesting to historians today is his post-white house years, for which people did not seem to think that louisa was a part of. somewhat mistakenly. i think that has really kept her from being the prominent -- and abigail kind of outshines
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when you are talking about the adams'. >> carol is watching in santa fe. >> this is a fantastic series, i love it. you keep referring i the white house, and understand it was called the presidents house for some time. do you know when it changed its name to the white house? >> teddy roosevelt. the beginning of the 20th century. he formally changed the main to the more informal white house. at the same time that his wife is taking the house back to its more formal style and side. >> is it true that some of the exterior was painted white after the fire from the british, to cover scorch marks? that is when it began. >> it was informally referred to -- the man on the street did not refer to it as the
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executive mansion. teddy roosevelt made it official. >> a call from catherine in rockville, maryland. >> just wondering, was louisa ever, worker rights ever violated and wanted to do about it? >> what are you thinking of? >> social or things like her speaking out for what she believed in. >> this is a great restaurant to talk about what role women really had in society at this point in time in america. isshe is not political, she not speaking out politically the way that abigail did with husband.
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she is not a public political figure speaking out on these things. she has her own private views on some things. her views on politics are more about how people behaved. she is much more interested in everyone conducting themselves properly. even people on her own side. she doesn't like it when people who support the policies that her husband supported have crossed a line in terms of decorum. she is not trying to get out -- she's not an activist. i would not want to say that. >> nearly 100 years until women have the right to vote, we should point out for our younger viewers. what role they play? where did their power come from? >> there is a coda to this story. justice john quincy became more and more outspoken in his opposition to slavery,
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and famously played a role in the amistad case. there was something between louisa and the green key sisters, who were pioneering activists and abolitionists of their day. i think she comes as close there as anywhere else to spelling out a sense of women's roles. >> this is an interesting time. her mother in law has passed. we think about gil adams and her famous words to john, remember the ladies. abigail's letters were becoming more published, and louisa saw an affinity between her mother- in-law and herself on women's issues. >> towards the end of louisa's
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life, there is the sense that she seeks an equality of the mind for women, but not so that women can run for office. it is not that kind of feminism. it is that women can better fulfill their primary functions as mother, wife, and daughter. they had this god-given, this is where her religion comes in, but god had created man and woman equal in this way. that was how she could -- in their mind, they could be equals and partners, complementary partners, not for women to become more like men. abigail's feminism as it were is somewhat along the same vent -- bent of allowing women to become better republican mothers and wives to allow men to fulfill their calling with honor
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and dignity. >> to john quincy seek reelection? >> he did. a lot of people think i'm a it was the most scurrilous campaign in history. it was not close at the end. andrew jackson denied the presidency four years earlier, overwhelmed john quincy adams. like his father, he did not stick around for his successors inauguration. he did come back to washington a couple of years later in a unique role. the only american president to this day who came back as a member of the house of representatives. >> there are a couple of first year, the first father and son to serve in the white house. the only foreign-born first lady, and the only president to
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come back and an elective role in the legislature. >> history repeated itself in a tragic way. inn and abigail lost a son the time between his defeat and inauguration. george washington adams, who i suspect the pressure of that name would drive anyone off the wall, he almost definitely committed suicide. >> just when his father was losing the election? >> yes. he stepped off a boat. >> it was may, 1829. the power had already shifted to andrew jackson. they asked george to come back to washington to escort family to quincy. he either fell or jumped off the boat. devastating personal tragedy.
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brotherears later, his died of alcoholism. bit834, it was a little later. >> one child survived. what about their grandchildren and heirs? >> there are a number of grandchildren. john adams the second, he had married his cousin and had two children. becameincy emily said the guardians to those children. the younger one died in another tragedy. charles francis adams married abigail brook, and they had a number of children. they are in boston. so john quincy adams we sell only see them during their
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summer breaks, because they spend pretty much all their time in washington. >> cheryl from santa barbara. >> i do so much for having the program. i am really enjoying it. what wondering if you know louisa catherine's size was. she looks very petite in her pictures. >> do we know? >> she was definitely slender. i cannot tell you how tall she was. i don't think particularly. she remained slender throughout her life. >> i heard somewhere, about five foot six inches. >> after the defeat for reelection, they go back to boston and stay there for how long? >> not very long. electionthere was an from another district, and john quincy accepts the nomination
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and spent the rest of his life, literally will die with his boots on, suffering a stroke on the floor of the house of representatives. >> a come back to the house on f street that they built for all of the social entertaining that got him to the white house. what were their congressional years like here and especially for her? >> they don't come back to f street initially. the house had been rented out during the presidency. a comeback at the the end of the 1830's. these years are much better after about 1834. the first few years are filled with tragedy. things really improved. they are able to socialize and entertain and have these dinner parties, but there is number striving. they have reached all that can happen. i think that these are years more of peace. there is a lot of political struggle certainly.
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between her and john quincy there is something of an understanding. she knew that he needed politics in order to live. verythough she had been angry at his insistence and going back to washington, she even threatened not to come to washington. eventually she cooled off and decided she would follow him after all. between them, mostly good years, even with all the political fights over the gag rule. >> it was a 50 year marriage. >> they had been through the worst. the white house was a thing of the past. i think she was more likely aligned with him in his congressional career. stuff that had come between them was in the past. in some ways, they grew closer in the last years. >> did she begin to influence
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him on issues like slavery and women's rights? >> she would not use influence in that way. and women's rights, i certainly don't think that is something that they would have really discussed in that way. it was not something being put forward in congress. slavery they stop hurting your eye to eye. it is hard to say who influence to where they both got there on their own. he felt freer in congress to be active about it. she had family members who were slaveholders, being from maryland. both of them, they don't like slavery. that they are gradual abolitionists. >> jennifer sherman offers, "the adams women offered a type of feminism."
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let's take a call from jeffrey in sarasota. >> i am a history teacher who grew up in connecticut, but now lives in florida. i am very interested in the adams family. he brought up the question i had, whether or not louisa had difficulty with her father's family being from slaveholding maryland. view sort of alluded to it. that was one question -- how difficult was that or her on a personal level? the other one is just a curiosity, did she live long enough to get her photograph taken? do you have a photograph of her? >> thanks for the question. are there any portraits of her? >> i don't know. there might be. john quincy had a photograph of her.
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but not 100% sure of that you should check the portraits volume of the adams papers. >> our producer is telling me no photos. they spent a long time looking. we have about three minutes left. john quincy dies a dramatic death. >> first of all, one reason why life was him i think, better for them at the end, the public attitude toward them have changed. admirers call him old man eloquent. an career in congress was expression of that dogged commitment to principle, even at the risk of unpopularity. ofthe end, it he won some his battles. repealing the gag role that slavery had imposed on congress.
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he became an immensely respect to elder statesman. in february 1848, on the floor of the house, one member of congress looked over in his direction and said, mr. adams is dying. his four head had flushed, he tried to stand and fell over. he was carried to the speaker's office, just off the floor of the house. henry clay came to visit. louisa came, and he did not recognize her. supposedly, his last words were, this is the last but i am content. which i don't believe, i don't think he was content for a moment. he died doing his duty. >> do we think it was a stroke? >> yes. how old was he? and how long did she live after
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his death? >> 81. she lived another four years. she stayed in washington, and by her son's wife. she lived quietly. her health is fading. she had a stroke the following year and is somewhat invalid for the rest of her life. actuallyrancis adams meets with her about a year before she dies and records in his diary how content she seemed. not that she was looking forward to death, but that she had truly resigned herself and would face the end with great courage and faith. >> you are looking at some footage of the presidential burial place, if you ever get to massachusetts, it is quite a resting spot of of presidential couples, buried side-by-side in a church.
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>> the church of the presidents. >> the two memorials with flags are the two graves of the presidents themselves. we invite you to put that on your list as you do historical touring. something you have done a lot of. we have one more call left, this is william from winston- salem, north carolina. fewnd i remember seeing a years ago, believe it was david mccullough, talking about the adams women and the strength of them. their inner strength. he mentioned something about one of them having had the breast cancer and had surgery in the days before anesthesia. >> i am going to jump in because our time is short. that is abigail adams daughter who had breast cancer and a mastectomy in the days before anesthesia. >> 1813. >> she eventually succumbed to
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the disease. >> yes. >> we really want to bring all of these conversations back. go. what should louisa catherine adams be remembered for? >> she is a fascinating figure, the interest in her should be every bit as much as for her mother-in-law. she is a woman who saw more of the governments of the world than most women of that day. in london, berlin, st. petersburg, washington. she truly experiences and reflects on these experiences through her letters and diaries and memoirs in a way that ring a richness to our understanding of the period she lived in. >> and a life of tragedy. she lived through extraordinary events.
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crossed paths with remarkable historical figures. it was in the life where she suffered loss after loss. even the presidency turned out to be, in many ways, disappointing. that is not the note on which the story ends. there is real inspiration there for all of us. >> thank you, as always for your expertise. amanda, nice to meet you and thank you for helping us learn more about louisa catherine adams through your extensive work on her papers. thanks to you for being with us and the white house historical association for their help in producing this series.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> tonight, our series " steadies." we will look at three first ladies. first, and the harrison. -- anna harrison. president and moved into the white house with his
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wife, letitia. then the country had a new first lady, julia tyler. live tonight on c-span at 9:00 eastern. next "washington journal ," reporting on partisanship in the senate. we will look at the nation's infrastructure, and we will discuss the use of domestic drones. journal"why on c- span at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> rachel was not a fan of
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anything that took andrew jackson away -- rachel was not a fan of anything that took andrew jackson away. theran the plantation and firm and kept everything in order. everything loved her -- everybody loved her. >> she could write a nice letter and had nice jewelry. she was not as frumpy and she was reputed to be. >> he rose in politics, that was an ugly sore. >> the campaign was so bitterly fought, that they went all out, calling her a whore. they used every piece that they could find and she was good garbage for them. >> made the statement that i would rather be a dookkeeper and live in that palace.
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>> her niece was 21 years old when she became the white house hostess. >> for all of the negatives they had to say about andrew jackson, they loved her. >> received an education in the fine arts of being a lady. it was that kind of education that enabled her, when rachel suddenly dies, to slide into the role of white house hostess. >> the women liked her. meantmen's opinions and more. she knew exactly how to >> it is emily that jackson has a falling out with. jackson never lost his affection for her. he just could not deal with this going against his will in his own home. >> for 12 years, no president's
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wife served as first lady. on this program, we will learn about two administrations that were run by would old presidents. of course, andrew jackson0-- -- of first, washington's societal ambitions. -- up first, will washington -- washington's societal ambitions. hear to tell us about those who served in the white house to support the presidents, a in societal ambition. -- thank you for being with us. it is produced in cooperation with the white house historical association. tonight the interesting jacksonian era. presidential historian. michael, welcome. and pat brady back at our table tonight. her biography of rachel jackson
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is called "the french your love story of rachel and andrew." how do people understand the change that andrew jackson brought to the white house? >> was the first westerner. we have virginia presidents from the old south before that. he grew up in the frontier. the change is enormous. socially, the change is enormous. he is not of the old planter class of the south that previous presidents had been from. he was not like a newly linder either. he brings different values and the french ambitions to the white house. >> even though he was a widow the president, the ghost of his
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wife, over the white house during his years there. why is that? >> she was the woman of his life. he loved her. when she died just a few months before he was inaugurated, he was a rest. he spent all of his time thinking about her and her memory and having her portraits in his bedroom so he could think of her. it really changed the way the first administration wins. >> we need to go into the campaign of 1822 understand the presidency. 1828 was the year of what? how did it change? >> it was the first time we did not have a majority of electors. the whole election was given over to the house of representatives. we had these competing factions
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in the house of representatives. you had crawford from georgia. you had henry clay and calhoun and jackson. jackson won the popular voted, but he did not win the electoral college. goinghe politicking was on in the house of representatives, there was an opportunity to make deals. one of the deals that was made was that henry clay would the vice president and items with win the election. once we come out of that election, the buildup to the other election is that that was a corrupt bargain. >> you described 1824 setting the stage for 1828. the 1828 campaign was older enmity fought together again. how did it play out? >> in 1824, jackson was not quite sure he was ready to be
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president. when he won the vote and it was stolen from him, he knew he was meant to be president. he thought the election had stolen the people's presidency. when he came out in 1828, he came out fighting. >> what was interesting about the campaign was that it was a precursor to modern campaigning. he and his surrogates for out on the stump. as many as 800,000 more americans voted in that election as they had in the previous ones the -- the previous one. how had he thought of that? growings the development of a national party that martin and iran had been working on with people -- martin van buren had been working on with people in the south. this was a time of great
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technological change. we had real growth and newspapers and new communication methods coming to bear as well as a much larger electorate. we had general white male suffrage in all of the states. there were more people taking and there was more opportunity to hear about it. >> the western states had come in. >> rachel jackson became an issue. this is the first time in our early country's history that people targeted the wife of a presidential candidate. >> abigail adams had taken some hard hits from the press. that sort of thing had happened. this was the first time someone actually went out trying to find what they thought was a search and publicize it widely.
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>> was the first one looking for dirt? and man who hated jackson wanted to see jackson go down. when he thought out she had been the voice, he really despise her. he was rigorously fundamentalists. it was a moral issue for him. he really thought she would disgrace the white house. >> he did not do it, but he did not stop it. hammon was his party hack. he did not come down on him. he just sat back and said, oh my goodness. >> we saw in the open, political cartoons. was this a new phenomenon? >> yes. to call a lady that had been married for 36 years a bigamous or an adulterous was
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unprecedented. -- bigamist or an adultorer -- adulterer was unprecedented. >> what was she accused of? >> was accused of being married before. and she was. she was married to a man who treated her and her family very badly. her whole family hated him. out west, they did not believe you had to stick by your man if he was horrible. they believe in dissolving an unhappy marriage, so they did. >> also, criticism of her and her western frontier lack of
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class. >> she had an accent. she had a tennessee accent. she did not have an east coast accent. >> were opponents concerned about what the image for the new country would be if he made it to the white house? >> there is a strong class issue running through all of this. it is difficult to talk about havecountry that does not class. would this person be virtuous enough to represent the united states? is this person genteel enough to represent the united states? >> the great tragedy is that after this was a freeze campaign, he went to the white house and she is preparing to go -- after this campaign, he went to the white house and she was preparing to go with him and
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what happens? >> she died. she thought people would be rude to her and they might snub her. she thought about not going. she decided that would be admitting they were wrong. she decided to go. on december 22, she died of a heart attack. >> and she was buried in a dress she preplanned -- plan to wear to the inaugural ball. >> this is our first video of the night. we will be showing you video throughout the night. we will take you to the heritage, their home in tennessee and learn more about what enter jackson carried throughout the rest of his life after rachel. >> we do not know what kind of health rachel was in overall. after the fall of 1828, her
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health was not good. the campaign for president that jackson was going to have a huge effect on her health. this is a letter jackson wrote on this day that rachel actually died, december 22, 1828. he is writing to his friend. he describes the onset of rachel's illness, her final illness. he says that she was suddenly, violently attacked with pains in her left shoulder and breast. breast,ction of the that suffocation was apprehended. it was clear she was in a serious condition. he talked about getting ready to go to washington like he is assuming she will get better and off they will go. unfortunately, she passed away later in the day. according to the stories of her death, jackson called for her to be bled when she died. he was a big believer in a row
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of medicine, medicine that did not kill you, would cure you. alivehough she was not anymore, he asks the doctor to bleed her. smalledly, there is a stain on the cap, the little blood that came out when the doctor tried to bleed her. we have a lancet that the doctor would have used to cut her open. we have some things about this morning. a black calling card -- his mourning. a black calling card to suggest he was in deep mourning. a book that was given to him by
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a friend of his that has a long inscription. it is a book called the mourner comforted help them read things that would help them along. jackson was completely devastated. for her to die just as he was actually preparing the plan is to get on the steamboat to go to washington was almost more than he could deal with. this was painted while he was in washington after rachel's death. had it with him all the time, on his chain or in his pocket or on his bedside table so that he could see it in the morning when he awakens. she was with him pretty much all the time even though she had passed away. this was a book that was important to jackson.
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this was in rachel's psalm book. she made this cross stitch cover to keep the book nice. after her death, jackson kept things like this close at hand so that he could refer to them, another way of keeping her clothes. jackson had a habit after she died of purchasing more using our keeping things that reminded him of our. this was the central hall of the hermitage manchin. although the house burned after rachel's death, jackson insisted they repurchase the same wallpaper they had chosen. she liked it and it reminded him of her and he wanted it here. this is jackson's bedroom. after rachel's death, she was not very far away from him. he kept many mementos of her around. he had a portrait that was a favorite of his copy so that he could have been hanging over the
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fireplace so that it would be the first thing he saw in the morning and the last thing he saw at night according to the tradition and stories passed down by the family. he would go out to her tomb every sunday and spend some time out there either thinking thet her or thinking about problems of the day. he wanted the feeling of her close by. >> this program is interactive. we welcome your but dissipation. there are lots of ways you can do that. you can call us. our phone number is -- if you live in the eastern time zone. you can send us a tweet. if you do, use the hashtag #firstladies. here is a tweet, who writes, did rachel have plans about what the jackson life should or not be like in washington, d.c.? >> she did. she did not like expensive
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entertainment. she liked to go hear the creatures of the day and family and friends around her in the white house. i think it would have been a domesticated white house. >> the same person ask another question. given her public scrutiny, did in the famous dignitary's her funeral? do either of you know the answer to that? >> she was buried two days after she died. given the way news traveled and people travel, no one could have made it. all of the local dignitaries, all of the church bells tolled. everything close down. there was a huge attendance at
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her funeral. >> time to step back and telling a little bit of the great love story between rachel and andrew jackson. who was rachel donelson jackson? >> it was one of the daughters of the first family of tennessee. they made a trip during which many of the people on the trip died. they were some the earliest white settlements. her family was quite positive in the area. she was part of the gentry of tennessee. >> we have a question from someone wanting to know how unusual it was for someone, at the age of 24, to be on their second husband? was that considered unusual at the time? >> not particularly. people die all the time, particularly on the frontier. most people remarry because you needed to have the support in order to live.
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>> the original theory was that they divorced. >> widows and widowers always remarry. it was peculiar for someone not to remarry. >> her first husband was -- >> he was about 10 years her senior. >> why did they make the match? >> the war between the whites and the indians was so ferocious and so strong, the whites wanted to stay there. the indians did not want them there. the battle for territory. the donelsons went to kentucky where things were safer. >> how long did the marriage lasts?
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>> not long. 3 or four years. he was too mean. >> he was a nasty, abusive person. dear >> it take courage for her to leave him? -- >> did it takes courage for her to leave him? >> it took courage for her family. she adored her family and they adored her. they were part of the whole decision for her to be low. -- to elope. >> who was andrew jackson when she met him? >> nobody. he was one of the borders at her mother's house. he lived in one of the cottages with another batch of a lawyer.
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you might say, why is one of the gentry renting out cottages? in terms of this being an ongoing war, to have extra guns on hand is always a good thing. >> explain a little bit more about tennessee in that time and what the country looked like. >> this was the far west. it was recently settled. most of the settlers theater came by river the long way or they came over the mountains. this was still rough country. it was not as subtle as kentucky. >> next is a question. this is from mitchell in national, -- nashville, tennessee. >> put up that rachel's birthday was in june and you included a month and day. my understanding was that no one knew her exact burth mont -- birth month and date.
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>> that is true. it is believed it was in june. >> if i am not mistaken, only white property owners voted during that time. is that correct? >> that is correct. in the early days, it was only white property owners of certain standing. the franchise expanded to generally being white males. >> rachel meets the tall andrew jackson. they are attracted to each other. how did their marriage take
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place? >> all his life, jackson truly liked women. he loved her mother and saw her as a mother figure. he could not bear to see women mistreated or badly treated in any way. his gallantry was involved with what he saw was the abuse of this woman. when they fell in love, they decided to be loath - -elo -- elope. they stayed several months, close to a year. when they came back, they said, we are married now. her whole family, including her mother said, this is our son-in- law, andrew jackson. who is going to tell them, no? people just accepted it because the family, neighbors, and friends accepted it. comeen did the details
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about that their divorce was not finalized? >> the divorce was filed in virginia. there were stipulations in the settlement that it had to be posted a certain amount of time and in different places. he did not go through with posting all of it. he was playing games with the whole divorce anyway. >> so who is at fault? [laughter] >> he had to take it to court in kentucky before a jury. at that time, they had been living together as a married couple for two years. when she was accused of adultery, she was living with andrew jackson. if she had gone bad -- gone back, she would have still been married to this person she hated.
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>> when did the hermitage become their home? >> my mind is going blank. early in the 18th century. they started in that area. they started in a bigger place. he got into some financial trouble and they moved to the hermit is. at that time, it was a log house. >> our next video is a glance at rachel and andrew jackson's life at the hermitage. >> he was retiring for a while. hen they first moved here, spent a lot of time at home. the primary people who would have visited prior to the war of 1812 would have largely been friends and relations from the area. rachel had a huge family. they have lots of kids. there was a lot of them and they were in and out all the time. rachel was close to her family. jackson was an orphan and grew close to rachel's family.
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emily donelson, the house she grew up in, is less than two miles away from here. he has become this national hero and there were people here all the time. rachel was the knowledge to be a pretty nice hostess, cordial and welcoming. during jackson's saying after the battle of new orleans from 1815 to the rest of her life, they have lots and lots of company. they had many, many parties or even in jenner's here at the hermitage. -- dinneers hear -- dinners here at the hermitage. they acquired a good deal of silver as they went along, such as these plants cups. they would have been used for an evening party where some
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highly the third up punch was served. -- liquored up punch was searched. inwas more about her comfort big cities than it was about her actual appearance or clothing. she was not a fan of anything that took into jackson away from the hermitage. during the war of 1812, there were letters from her that say things like, do not let fame and fortune blind you to the fact that you have a wife, i am home, and i need you. he knew pretty well that she would have preferred him to stay home and the plantation owner andrew jackson. this is the earliest letter we have said jackson wrote to rachel.
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it was written in 1796 when he was in east tennessee on business. it is addressed to her, my dearest heart. it is with great displeasure that i sit down to write to you. what pleasing hopes i view the future when i am restored to your arms or i can spend my days in domestic sweetness with you, the deer companion of my never to be separated from you again during this fluctuating life. the garden was always considered one of her really places. lots of comments from visitors about her gathering flowers. there is one story. when a young lady was here on her honeymoon and she and her husband were invited to stay. she mentions that the garden was
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special to rachel. when they were preparing to leave, to move onto the next stage of their honeymoon, she walked in the garden with rachel and rachel gathered flowers and this is where they left. thee are back talking about jacksonian era. we will take a question from twitter. >> he probably took care of the political stuff himself. >> i would say practically no. he has no records. we had a loss of their letters. they are personal or financial, but they're really not about politics. >> we talked about jackson's large personality and how sure he was about his opinions. >> he was absolutely sure of his beliefs wholeheartedly.
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when he saw people who disagreed with him he often took that as a sign of amnesty. that is difficult. .> personal enmity >> that might have been further thinking that he may not have saw guidance. >> what he really cannot stand was someone who was a friend or your relative -- or relative who disagree with him. that was dishonest as far as he was concerned. >> we will learn more as the conversation continues. how many slaves did the jacksons have? would those same slays trouble with them to the white house? had 300 slaves.
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it was a large plantation. time of trouble with large numbers of slaves. they will perhaps bring a couple of personal servants. asngs had become iffier abolitionists sentiment grew. it became less and less possible to bring slaves their throughies -- territories. >> as jackson wins the election, tell us the story of his inaugural party. >> he has the inauguration. he rides on horseback back to the president's house. the public is invited. there are about 20,000 people who had attended the inauguration. the house is open to the public.


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