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tv   QA  CSPAN  August 7, 2016 11:00pm-12:00am EDT

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robertson and after that, jill of thend a discussion impact of the campaign of democratic presidential candidate or month senator bernie sanders. ♪ a," civil waron "q& robertson.ames he talks about his book "after the civil war." professor james robertson, can you remember the first time you cared about the civil war? professor robertson: yes, sir. i remember when i was a boy
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.itting in my grandma's lap her mind was clear as a bell. whatember her telling me her father had done at the battle of gettysburg. is link with the civil war very direct with me. so, from the time i was a young boy able to absorb history, i was interested in it, and i'm glad i am, because history is the best teacher. how many years were you teaching the civil war? prime minister lee: it was an elective course -- professor robertson: it was an elective course. students to get because they wanted to. 22 thousandbout students. how many books have you written? professor robertson: i don't know. i just write them and hope they do well. book onread that your
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stonewall jackson had done the best. so far.r robertson: it is about a confederate general. it's not the biography of a general, but the life story of a man. i got very involved with jackson. to overcome.ips his mother died when he was seven. he never knew why. he grew up on love. i wanted to try to get a hold of this man, and she told me, i would not tell my therapist -- and she described what he should quiet,introverted,
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humorless, not a conversationalist at all. that was stonewall jackson to eight c. he grew up like that. we always had a mother and father to whom we could go. he did not. he grew up not knowing what real deep personal love was. he had not had feelings like that before. i cried writing chapter one. i just felt so sorry for him. he would become the most , brilliant general in the world. brian: why? prime minister lee: -- professor robertson: his tactics and the deception. even more than that, jackson was fighting for god in this war. i think it makes him a very unique individual. he searched throughout his young years for a safe, and he
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finally found it after he went to lexington, virginia. he became a presbyterian, not really. he became a calvinist in every sense of the word. he dedicated his life to god. mayindeed, although it sound evangelical, god was his heavenly father. he became the father that jackson never had. everything he did was for god. he gave thanks to a glass of water. knowing this was a gift from heaven. when the war comes, jackson concludes god has placed a scourge on america for reasons understand. cannot but whichever side wins in this war, it is the side that god has blessed. he goes into this war not to fight yankees but to slay the amalekites and to kill the old enemy of biblical times. this is why when the war began, -- take noocated
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principles. host: where did he get that from? professor robertson: >> he got it from the old testament. to jericho and killed every man, woman, and child in town. he saw god also. the belligerent god. he has his love for children. as a therapist told me, the love he had for children came from the love he had not received as a child. the movie, they developed a wonderful scene based on fact. he met young janie corbyn who was five years old and that was an attraction between the two of them.
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and when jackson was not was down the war, he on his knees, just loving her to death. battle ofe the chancellorsville, where he was mortally wounded, janie fell ill of scarlet fever. as strepknow it today throat, and she died. it was just a blow. it just struck him down. in the movie "gods and generals,," you just see them walk out of the field. he just lowly goes to pieces over the loss of janie corban. if you were to walk into a big auditorium full of people, he would be repulsed. too many strangers. too much talking he have to do. but if there was a little child, you would go to that child and say, hello.
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and he and that child would become close because jackson alt satisfaction from giving child to love he himself never had. host: how many years did he live? professor robertson: he was 39. host: that is not why we asked you to come here. we really appreciate your time. you are retired but still active. professor robertson: i am more active now than when i was teaching. host: we wanted you to talk about a book you did called "after the civil war." you talk about things that happened after the civil war -- one of the things i wrote down, you started ,ff in your preface about this james hanger's loss of a leg. jim hangerobertson:
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went off with his unit. that was in june of 1861. a union attack came from robert crews fighting robert crews and jim hanger was wounded very badly and he lost a leg. the surgeons of that day who saved his life gave him the usual peg leg that we all hear about. it was very uncomfortable. after his capture in treatment, he went back home. he stayed in upstairs room. he was good at furniture making and carpentry. theybout three weeks, could hear him banging around. suddenly one day he comes , stomping down the steps. he had carved a leg like his original leg. prosthetic make limbs.
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young went with a teenager who did not like a stump for a leg. host: i counted 70 people you wrote about in this book. i'm just going to toss out some names. i don't know how you remember all this stuff, but i will ask anyway. jubal early -- you said the cold of lost causes. what was that? professor robertson: he never surrendered mentally. he just thought that yankees overwhelmed them. after the war, totally reconstructed he tried to keep , the confederate dream alive. he began to perpetuate on what cause p call the lost eriod, mainly that the south was correct in what it wanted to do, but it was overwhelmed by leehen forces and robert e.
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as the 13th disciple. his associates in many prominent against anyoneus who went against the old confederate feeling. they had particular animus against long street whose cousin had married u.s. grants. long street becomes the judas all the lost cause and they just butchered long street in print and speeches. joined the republican party, and they went after him, too. he would never accept defeat. when he died at the turn of the , and he was buried in his confederate uniform. he is theponds are --
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personification of an unreconstructed southerner. in contrast, a general from louisiana his first battle was , may of 1962. his left leg was shot off. that she went home and recuperated, he came back and , then his left arm was shot off. in 1877, when the democrats finally got into power, they ran nichols for governor. they used a unique motto. "we are running all that is left of general nichols." he won in a landslide on amongst the x -confederates.- ex host: would you give a quick synopsis? when was the civil war fought? tofessor robertson: 18 61
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1865. many search? prof. robertson: 3 million men roughly. one million southerners. yes, women did serve. how many we do not know but there were a lot that got into the army. it says something. i've seen figures. i don't know, i'm not sure if anyone really knows. there are many women. how many were killed in the north -- i mean southern soldiers -- and in the south? professor robertson: the total patel these, the war department made a computation of 612,000 dead. i think it is woefully inadequate. i would say three quarters of a million. host: how many in the north and
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how many in the south? professor robertson: probably two to one. there. here, probably because the numbers were smaller. but you have to add another half-million who were mentally or physically disabled by that war. amputated limbs and whatnot. you're talking about a 33% loss. now, knowing what you know if you were a southerner back in those days, what side would you have fought on? professor robertson: fought for the south. because states rights were so embedded. this is what a lot of students fail to see. let me use my own state as an example. when the united states constitution was established and the nation began, virginia was 180 years old. 180 years old. in 1861, when civil war comes,
quote
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the lee family had been in virginia for 225 years. lee said i cannot draw my sword against my birthplace, he was referring to the commonwealth of virginia. the united states was not old enough to have wisdom. much less efficient government. state allegiance was very deep. it went as far back in generations. i think one has to keep that in mind. i am not belittling slavery. slavery is, without question, the major cause of the civil war. theyou could explain actions of good, decent men like the piouslee and stonewall jackson. they fight because virginia needs them not that they support the confederate cause. they did not believe in slavery. his state needs them, and so he went to war. host: so, you taught 20,000
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students at virginia tech over the years. how many in a classroom when you did your lectures? when wer robertson: were on the quarter system, there were 577. then when we went over to the semester system, so you did not did notas many -- you have as many electives, so it went to 350. host: after you spend a semester with the students, what did they most often say what they change their mind about? professor robertson: the human element. that is the way i taught history. history should be the most exciting subject of all because it is the story of human beings. god's most unpredictable creatures. no two human beings are alike. you can't say that about the othespecies. mark twain once said that human beings are the only animals that need to blush. we are unpredictable.
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feelings are most lacking in civil war history. we just don't realize how to control the feelings. it is easier to make a college class laugh, but is difficult to make them cry. but i worked at it. i wanted them to feel that heartache and sadness. i wanted them to feel patriotism, which incidentally, first comes out in the civil war. we had no country to feel patriotic about until we fought ourselves. a you doubt that, go to national cemetery. where men who love their country most, more than life itself, now live. you will see men who gave themselves for the country, north or south. we must remember that. i can make a class cry. i've succeeded.
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has: what story, over time, made a class cry? professor robertson: you just start quoting. why not let the soldiers do the talking? 130ve presented about vignettes, none of which have a bearing on the outcome of the war, but they invest to be emotions and feelings. sally was the mascot and the men in the regiment loved her and she loved them. she hated civilians. she was dedicated to her soldiers. pardon me. at gettysburg, they lost her and they thought she was dead but , cleaning up the battlefield , they found her lying, guarding 11 members who had been killed. in early february, 1865, at a
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heavy scrimmage, sally was killed. two soldiers took down their hands, and with their they dug a grave and very little sally. say,s paul harvey would that was not the end of the story. pennsylvania put up a monument in gettysburg and from afar it looks like all other monuments with a soldier standing, but down on the ledge at the bottom, there is the little figure of sally and her eyes are wide open. she is keeping watch into eternity. think, affected people more than any other. animal stories. the human interest stories are there there are some funny , 20. things involved. grace is around 10 years
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old in 1860. she wrote candidate abraham lincoln a letter and she basically said, mr. lincoln, you are an ugly man. my friends and i agree that if mightow what beard, it lessen the ugliness of your face and make you more attractive to the voters. lincoln got the letter, he said ok, and he grew that beard for which he is now famous. she changed the face of history with that letter she wrote. it makes you human. you have to do that with history. you can't sit back and pass judgment on events over 150 years ago. i get upset when i hear someone say at gettysburg, if generally had done this or if he had not done that, the self might have won that war. had 100 50 years
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did think it over, i guarantee you he would have done something different at gettysburg. you cannot pass judgment like that. you have to think about the narrow lens that these men had at that particular time. that is the only way you will understand history. host: how much money did the north cap to support the war, and how much money to the south have? it's almostbertson: incomparable. the union had everything, especially industry. the south was leaning heavily on agriculture. cotton in particular. erman, the sha sanity many people question, lived in louisiana until before the war started, and he said, you people are crazy. no nation of farmers is going to wage a successful war against industrialists. you and the south are doomed to failure. it was this industrial revolution that killed them.
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you see these mass charges when you go back to the middle ages. before long, the rifle has replaced the musket, which means the range of killing power has jumped five times farther. the weapons have become bigger and more destructive. the gatling gun, all kinds of new weapons coming out. even artillery, increased ranges, deadly firepower. so these soldiers are coming across the field. they are just destined to be slaughtered. it ends in civil war where the advantage shifts to the defense. named bedford forrest and your book. you wrote a chapter about him, to the germant it blitzkrieg in world war ii. professor robertson: these cavalry, these men would gallop miles and miles.
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men would have a sub present tack, be successful, go back on their horses, and ride back. the germans did that same kind of thing on the eastern front especially. in poland and in russia. nathan bedford forrest was the godfather of the blitzkrieg. host: how did you teach yourself about the civil war? professor robertson: i don't know. i just kept learning. i was fortunate in my top time -- in my time and circumstance. i studied under an outstanding social historian. but then i had the good fortune , to be appointed by president kennedy as director of the united states centennial commission. i got a postgraduate education. the chairman, the most listing which is story and of our day, and we became almost like father and son. host: these are historians? professor robertson: yes, all
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first-rate, top historians. i just learned from them. you can smell the gunsmoke and hear the screams when he writes. he taught me a lot about writing. he told me the blanket research, that is, you cover everything. you just don't go out looking for particulars. you cover everything in the search. from them i learned these , tidbits. i may be self-made but it was done at the inspiration and directorship of many others. host: you have a phd from emory? in what? in history,bertson: and i have a doctor in letters in a doctor of humanities from shenandoah as well. host: how many battlefields did you go to? professor robertson: how many? host: how many did you travel to, yeah?
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all ofor robertson: -- i've been to all of the major ones. i'm not too interested in strategy and tactics. i'm interested in the common soldiers. i wrote a popular book called y,"ldiers blue and gre letting the soldiers tell their own story. that is what i am interested in. the people. the people and how they feel. how they think and react. host: you talk about seven presidents being pushed by the civil war, and i'm going to ask you about each of those. but first if you are 19, 20, 21 years old or even older in the days of the civil war, how did you get out of it? professor robertson: you could buy your way out. if your father owned 20 slaves, you were automatically exempt in the south. professor robertson: -- host: why? professor robertson: you are
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determined by the congress you are more valuable at home overseeing the slaves. host: did anyone go buy slaves? professor robertson: yes, they went to great lengths. you may get yourself out of service at you have to have it to stay out. jay gould, the great business magnets were able to convince union authorities they knew so much about making machinery and guns and matériel for the north. host: you write about them in the book? what is a rear pinion of somebody you what -- what it cost them to buy their way out? >> it would start at $500 and then go up basically in that range, but that was a lot of money back in those days. it was certainly 10 times more than it would be today. where were that money go
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to? who do they pay it to? professor robertson: to the men who went in their place. i interpret it correctly, after you have bought him, you hope he gets killed. because once he is dead, you are dead. host: was it legal? was it know that people were buying -- professor robertson: oh, yes. you get a whole class of bounty jumpers who have made a living going around signing up his substitute and my substitute and just buying up all these payments and no one reporting for duty. probably the best or the worst of the love was in indiana bounty jumpers who was executed on christmas day 1864, i think it was. i think he had done it 38 times. he was accepted substitute. just made a hunk of money. host: i remember grover
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cleveland bought his way out. professor robertson: mm-hmm. any other presidents? professor robertson: i don't think so. that would be a disadvantage in a political campaign. , you george mcclellan write about. general george mcclellan. tell us about him. professor robertson: brilliant. brilliant commander. probably one of the greatest organizers of armies in american history. mcclellan's problems were many, but i think leaving them was he was a perfectionist. he was never ready. his army was never polished. it was never completely sound and shining and equipped and ready to go into battle. who was he? where did he come from? he was frombertson: pennsylvania and he graduated second in his class, he was a
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rising star in the prewar years. so much so, he was sent to monitor the crimean war. he was the american officer who what the to learn european said to offer in terms of strategy and tactics. he was a very promising young man. they got tired of the slow pace of army promotions. he resigned and became president of a big railroad. when the war started, he went back to pennsylvania to offer his services to the state. when he passed by ohio, the governor asked him to come by columbus. he was so impressed that he gave him a major general's promotion and put him i and charge of the ohio troops. mcclellan was over the mountains of west virginia winning little skirmishes when the disaster at manassas occurred. mcclellan's report of these skirmishes sounded like he
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thought armageddon here in apocalypse there. he glorified himself. impressed, was called him in east, put him in charge of the largest union army. mcclellan spent the next nine months building this army and making it the largest fighting force the country at ever seen. 120,000 men all decked out. when it comes battle time, he just cannot put that creation into battle. to see a dented and injured. so he hesitates and he drags his feet there. he blames all the problems he has on officials in washington's , who hamper his conduct in the war. mcclellan was greatly influenced by a french military man.
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he always taught that umass as -- you mass as many men into position. then the enemy will equip. men who line, the eventually win the war, grant sherman, they're like checker players, they know how wipe out he board and all the opposition. that's how the north wins. win the war.dn't grant and sherman did. ost: how could a general run for president in the middle of a civil war? professor robinson: mclellan was -- the army for potomac him for the most part. he took them out of battle and extend their lives needlessly. he had strong support in the military. would he have been? professor robinson: probably in
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the early 40s. in new jersey, the democratic ahold of him and mclellan's ego was such, yeah, he ran for ure, so president. initially, the democrats were platform the peace and elected democrats would stop conjures up one who visions of vietnam. did not believe in that. he did not convince enough thought everybody mclellan was going to end the did. and he mainly because there were some beneficiaries of very timely victories. -- or summer rather of 1964, he was going to lose. one of the arguments historians climactic n is the part of the war. think it's the summer of '64, because everybody is losing. grant is pushing to richmond. he can't get that. closer to richmond than mclellan did two years
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earlier. had taken off to atlanta walsted all the way down, on he offensive, and butler were disasters. campaign in south-west virginia fell apart and mr. lincoln wrote a conciliatory letter. nd in the summer of '64 conceding defeat in the fall elections. things turn around. suddenly, the admiral wins a naval victoria mobil. years later, they take shenandoah valley and the valley is lost. atlanta and the tide begins to shift and grant is leading him down and happening othing is but that is one of the most important stagnant points in the war. nevertheless, the north turns it around. to he union is well on victory. host: how big did abraham
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'64? n win in professor robinson: it was pretty wide spread. it wasn't close. hanks in part to the fact he allowed soldiers to come home and vote. nd the soldiers who had proved they had been so much in support of mclellan now see that it's an empty seat that we want. t's a dictorious thing we're cable of getting. host: my biggest surprise i was in your chapter on george mclellan, he ended up governor of new jersey. how'd that happen? professor robinson: new jersey like anybody else's politics, just wasn't anybody on hand. marr, who was just an idiot, who was appointed territorial governor and displaced himself. off a ally actually fell boat dead drunk and drowned in the missouri river. on the grounds in the
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state capitol, there's a equestrian statue of thomas mar, whoever is available. mclellan had a short life. pneumonia in the mid-50s, i think it was. i, in the things i do, raduate school worked in the funeral school in atlanta. these men who died. was on, for example, sherman. , so was host: who was that. professor robinson: the secretary of war, had a heart attack from wheezing. into a coughing spell and failed. nd talking to medical associates, you can say he died of asthma, but it might have emphysema. it might have been lung cancer. medicine as so little in those days that it was an issue where you had to guess at it. your i have to go back to statement about working in the funeral business in atlanta.
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you do? of work did professor robinson: i did everything. when the n the days funeral homes maintained the ambulance service. ambulance.ed on the i helped enbalm. funerals, and i did my work there. i couldn't think of a quieter a funeral udy than home and i thoroughly enjoyed it. that? ow long did do you professor robinson: four years. host: what did you learn about death? learned a obinson: i lot of things about death and i came to a great respect for it. i love the business. it's a caring business, which ou see people at their most vulnerable in their total grief, and you do what you can to help. a very honorable thing to be involved in. the 't say i loved business, but i enjoyed the work and helping people. mentioned several times the impact of the civil
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war on medicine. more? tell us professor robinson: oh, i can simply y do that, by pointing out a statistic. if you wanted to be a physician in 1860 and you wanted to be the best, you went to the jefferson medical college in philadelphia. was two years. and don't laugh. the second year was a repetition of the first. teach you everything, you know, about the field of medicine in one year. these guys, although they are one in 25 eons, it's that ever held a scalpal or wanted to. they're basically trained pharmacists who have a bag-load f pills, and a great variety, opium, just simple drugs which they administer. don't know that they eek -- are never taught in medical school anything akin to medicine or battle field medicine, how do you treat
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wound.hot they didn't know. had never been involved in a war. physicians.thy for most historians do not, but their he limitations of knowledge, i think they did a remarkable job. and one of the individuals after he civil war, jonathan letterman who is the father of modern military medicine, and he conceived of all kinds of things. three stages of hospitalization. on the battle field, a field station behind hospital back there. and he established lines of transportation. it wasn't, you got here first, we'll attend to you. most who was the seriously injured, we'll take them first. records.ted medical each man has his own medical records. organized an ambulance corps wounded off the field as quickly as possible and i
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shiloh e battle of fought in 1862 in april. the battle was fighting and later it was the following ednesday, the dead and wounded were still on the field. the wounded were mostly dead by now. battle of gettysburg, by uly 5, the battle field was clean. all the wounded had been removed. jonathan letterman who literally saved thousands of lives by his medical treatment and paul who was chief of medical services in the war, and 1945, once wrote not a day in world war ii past that i didn't hank got for jonathan letterman. host: if you were a soldier in the civil war and let's say you had a leg blown off. what would they do? what about the pain if they had to operate on you?
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mentioned opioid. did they have medicine? professor robinson: anesthesia was known, ether was there and had been invented in 1892. ether.ver used if you lit a cigar, you'd have an explosion. so they used chloroform. how often they operated without anesthesia, we don't know, but to ntimes when it was said be given a shot of whiskey and the men held you down and the amputation occurred. physicians of that day often were criticized for quick to amputate. again, i dispute that. there, a man lying out you have -- know nothing about antiseptics. inviting gangrene and sepsis and other diseases to over. so a lot of treating the wound back and forth and giving it
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cut off the st injured limb and start afresh. that seems brutal, but i think most promising of the two treatments. and so they were free to amputate. and they freely did. presidents. i'm going to avoid abraham wecoln at the moment because talked so much about him. tarting before the war, james buchannan. professor robinson: buchannan was president and justifiably so. he got caught up in the turmoil and the chaos of the 1850s. what historians call bu dlem a on the one w , he didn't think sekegz -- secession was constitutional or legal. on the other hand, he couldn't find anything to stop him from secession. his friends were southerners. he was caught in this tremendous
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dilemma, all he could hope for in the 1860s was to get out office before the explosions came, so he did. buchannan was an attorney, but he was too weighted to the law, oo out of touch with the people. he was single. nd so he had no gracious hostess to make going to the white house enjoyable. he just bungled badly. age where an evisions were coming to his defense. host: right after the civil war was killed, incoln andrew johnson. professor robinson: he was next to last on the scale. a misfit. he thought it would be politically to his advantage to run on the rat republican ticket, and johnson did.
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so when lincoln dies, here we've democrat and a republican. nobody liked him. terrible personality. -- come out of poverty worse than lincoln so he this in-grown inmitty toward influence.lth and just didn't get along with. he immediately gets into trouble republicans in congress. just nobody wanted him. nobody paid any attention to him. ends up getting impeached. host: what does radical for? ican stand professor robinson: they were the hard-lined republicans who iolently opposed lincoln's lenient plan of reconstruction. and it was a fairly lenient plan hard time s have a accepting it. all lincoln asked was that 10%, residents of the state pledge allegiance to the union to the state can come back the union. the radical republicans say, my
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war we fought a four-year for nothing more than that, the ins of secession must be punished and they went off to the south with a vengeance, and hey were led mostly by abolitionists who proved to be abolitionists of the moment. the 13th amendment is out, once the black people are freed, peace comes, apathy descends over the north while hey get involved in political contests. o the radical republicans really helping the black man is eally open to open to argument over the long haul. ost: ulysses grant is in your book, why. professor robinson: he was the hero of the civil war. it was his determination that won the war. afterwards, he was expected to elected president. both parties wanted him to run he should be. he was a man that knew nothing about politics, the give and
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acumens thatlitical are involved and he just sat back and accepted all the gifts come l the accolades that with being president. for two terms, he runs on a simple statement, let us have and the country is falling apart under reconstruction while he's president. he introduced a system of never challenged until the kennedies came into office. was put on the payroll. several of his most prominent members were indicted for high crimes and misdemeanors. eight years.ible which goes to prove that once again the nation can survive the voters. we survived the regime. withelegation can disagree that but nonetheless. host: two well known historians, ron turnout are writing major books. hy all of a sudden are we seeing so much copy on grant?
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professor robinson: i don't now, except the previous writing was so critical, and i suspect they're trying to find ood points and give grant his due. host: was he interesting? rofessor robinson: in a sense, he was. he wasn't captivating at all. interesting, i don't know. he was determined. he just would not quit as a gentleman. at vicks a vicksburg. you see it in petersburg. just kept pounding and pounding indeed i'm talking about the 1864 election. rant had not beaten lee but grant had lee pinned down at petersburg. e had taken away the one thing lee's great army had going for him, mobility. move.'t he was trapped at petersburg so time, was willing to let desertion, disease, do what the union army could not do. do you happen to know how many horses were killed in the
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war? professor robinson: horses, 1.5 million, killed or died, from wounds.battle 1.5 million. nd that's a chapter in the untold civil war and gets pretty tearful about that. animals, e of those what they were put through. host: how many of your books are still in print? professor robinson: i don't know. i would say a half dozen or more. host: i think i counted 11 on amazon. i don't keepinson: up with. host: which is the best seller you've ever had. stonewall robinson: jackson. and the untold civil war from he national geographic is second i suppose now. it's a coffee table book. very attractive. geographic's ional art work. of 're beautiful producers the books. host: hayes, in the war, what he do. professor robinson: he wins the
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presidency in a little known in virginia. it was part of that 1864 all encompassing campaign that grant hayes went from that to the white house. he had had a distinguished ohio, and he was president, and in 1876. was to the memorable act order the end of reconstruction o the occupation of the south officially ends. one thing the voters like about him in 1876 was his promise to term. one it was an interesting term. president hayes and his wife t-totalers, no profanity, no alcohol, no smoking or anything. known first lady became as lemonade lucy. they had a state dinner, and after the state dinner, the came out of state the white house saying, what a wonderful evening. flowed like champagne.
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great s did not set any standards for sociality. host: how many men became the resident out of the seven connected to the civil war were wounded in battle. professor robinson: i think slightly wounded. grant suffered a couple of injuries. ankle badly just before the battle of shiloh. aware he e are not fought the battle of shiloh with crutches. garfield and mckinley were okay. wo of them i think incurred wounds of significance. host: we move into a couple of residents and even has assassins in your book, to start with garfield. in the war? o professor robinson: garfield was brilliant man, also probably the last president of poverty that we had. himself up into ohio politics. to a chief of staff union, a gentleman named
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until he went1863 to congress. e was more or less the compromise candidate in the 1880 election. he republican party was split into two wings, and each of those wings could not get its nominated so nee it went to garfield, and he had months, and ce four so he was shot in washington's union station. lack of owing the medicine, the bullet that gave the surgeons particular concern in his body, and each day, they would go in with and goose around in the hole trying to pry the loose. and garfield lingered on 59 days before he died. one of the things, statements that doomed his assassin, was assassin's statement in
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court. i didn't kill garfield. did.doctors i just shot him. giteau? lking about why did you write a chapter on him. professor robinson: i just people would want to know what's in the minds of assassi assassins. in the minds of the people we mourn and the assa but i thought the assassins need some kind of identification. what makes a man want to kill a president. especially in the case of mckinley, who probably in his most popular e president in office that the country has ever had. everybody loved big bill mckinley except for the absolute poor. host: the ohio man. yeah, and heinson: served his second term. everybody loved big bill. want to shootbody him? he assassin ended up being an anarchists who felt americans consisted of a bunch of haves have notes. he figured he would give the
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figure in the "have" group and help balance the social status. mckinley in buffalo, new york, and mckinley wound from a gunshot and, again, the slow development of surgical techniques. president about mckinley in the civil war. what did he do? professor robinson: he was a 23rd ohio, which rutherford b. hayes commanded. did they know each other? professor robinson: oh, yes. i'm sure hayes did whatever he he d to help, even though was in poor health, although he did not live. ost: from your knowledge of history, and this is a dangerous question, but is there any war rison with this civil era and today? professor robinson: yes. host: and what is it. professor robinson: it's what me, mr. lamb. it worries me because i see in politics the polarization, the negativism,
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of a dysfunctional government. see the 1850s all over again, it.i'm truly alarmed by the country seems to leaders seem to feel that america can exist over any not of impediment, and it's true. democracy is the most tenuous form of government. beating, take much of a because so many people are involved in it. leaders just don't seem to know this. what especially disturbs me, and hate to get political in an interview like this, but what are our leaders who just don't know history. truman once said, the best news i get is the history i know. news isn't like that today. politicians. politicians think of the next
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generation statesman. think of the next state election. host: why do you think this is happening. professor robinson: i don't know. we don't have handles. love of ost that country that has got us so far. and one reason we have is that sight of the one thing, the only thing, that together is antry willingness to compromise. the united states constitution on he greatest manual compromises ever published and it just shows the give and take we he founding fathers, and don't do this today. i cannot understand how a this al leader can make statement, i will not compromise, and feel himself in the f an office democratic government. compromising democracy is the thing. host: you earlier said -- you're and have er by birth lived there in virginia. a country ter off as that the north won?
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professor robinson: oh, of course. oh, absolutely. i generally get around out in right saying that the side won, but the other side was nicer. there's no question about that. won,wise, if the south had we would have become the vulcans tryingwestern hemisphere to get together in a nebulous misfits.f california and montana would have had nothing in common. massachusetts and kansas would have had nothing in common. didn't have to be gradual, as lincoln said. have been disastrous for the nation to try and continue to exist. host: you were born in 1930, and it.'re still at why? professor robinson: i love what i do. i love what i do. i love history. the most exciting subject there is, because it's the study human beings, what they are,
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they hey could be, what weren't. i have a great respect for history. any nation that forgets its past future and we have 3,000 years of documented history to point that out. so it's just exciting. i get up in the morning excited. host: i understand it's a personal thing but we invited ago to uple of months come on this program and the day you were to come here, you fell busted your s and left arm. how is it that you're so -- andd approximate back back with us this early? professor robinson: i had one of the greatest orthopedic surgeons of home.tion get ahold host: how much damage do do you and what happened. i fessor robinson: frankly, was looking forward to appearing on this program. it door bell rang and disrupted my thinking and i went bounding down the stairs. and fortunately, i landed on the
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elbow. head ld have been on my and i wouldn't be here. it could be have been my writing a leg, a hip, but i hit that elbow, and the first ortho pedist looked at it, and said on a scale of 1-10, you're a 12. but he put me in touch with in richmond, and all he does is elbows. a newminutes, he inserted elbow, cleaned out the old one, and here i am. i can'te certain things do with it yet, and maybe never can, but i'm alive. host: obviously, we're glad that i'm sorry our first appointment didn't work out. re you writing anymore and lecturing anymore? professor robinson: oh, i'm lecturing all the time. constantly -- writing, not really. i've done a little book about a papers we gotn of at the state library of virginia
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and that little book called echoes in virginia" comes out late this month and history ng around the of the northern neck, the history between the potomac, seemingly isolated during the war. if i can find enough letters and i think there's a good story to tell of suffering and isolation. stonewall alked about jackson and you did a 900-something page book about that. eliminating him for the moment, if you had one person you wrote in here that you'd like to sit would it be. professor robinson: general lee. i'd like to sit down and talk with general lee. the one reason. professor robinson: i want to nation's e was the greatest reck silliator between northern ers, when and southerners were battling heads, lee was talking about reconciliation. lee was the absolute necessity of bringing the nation back he ther again and
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demonstrated that by taking a college and le making it a national institution it.t washington lee university. and one of the ways he brought reconciliation was, to his redit, and this almost sounds hip hypocri ypocritical, heretical, to his credit, he forgot about the past. he wouldn't talk about the civil war. interviews, t wouldn't write memoirs. dedications, attend even statues to stonewall jackson. e would be certainly violently opposed today to the confederate lag in any shape or form being shown. the war is over, he said. i have led men into battle. i must lead men into peace. jamesour guest, professor robinson, 44 years a teacher at blacksburg, h in virginia. the book we're talking about, is
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heros, e civil war, the villains, ldiers and civilians who changed america. coming y thank you for and glad you're well. professor robinson: thank you so much for having me. transcriptsfor free or to give us comments about program, visit us at q&a.org. also as c-spanle podcasts. >> if you enjoyed this week's interview with james robinson, who are some other like.ms you might author steven puleo on his book. to civil war.rica

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