tv Call-in with Joseph Ellis The Cause CSPAN December 31, 2021 7:29am-8:01am EST
a group of people leaving us a beginning through the party rather than the popular interest in charge and is a republic but not a democracy and as much as we owe the ordinary soldiers in the continental soldier undergarment, we should go back to them and capacity for irony and paradox, and this is why the sometimes healthiest in its discontent. when we end the war, we are incapable of dealing with the native market issues effectively and the slavery issue effectively because the government is a confederation of sovereign states and it is nobleness and during the united states is a plural noun, not a single noun and that leads us to tragedy. >> okay, we been in conversation, one of the countries leading historians the
revolutionary and more in colonial work. and about his note book, cause". joseph ellis. >> thank you pretty. >> in your >>s and you're watching booktv's coverage of this year's national book festival. that was joseph ellis talking about his newest book, "the cause: the american revolution and its discontents." and now from vermont, professor ellis joins us live to take your calls on the american revolution, the founding fathers. 202 is the area code, 748-8 8200 in the east and central time zones, 748-8201 if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones, and there's a third line set aside for text messages if you want to send a text message with a question or comment, 202-748-8903. reminder that that is only for text messages. please include your paris name
and your city. we'll begin taking your calls in just a minute. professor ellis, you said during your interview with david rubenstein a little bit earlier that the american revolution or the american rebellion was a power issue, not a money issue. could you explain that? >> guest: i'll do my best, briefly.ly the british attempt to tax the colonies and to impose legislative mandates on them was officially driven by the desire to increase revenue and reduce the size of the national debt which was a big debt, $140,000. but in truth, the amount of money collected was less than it cost to enforce it. and the isse at stake in the colonists was not how much you are taxing us,
but the fact that we have no say given that that we are being taxed without our consent so the underlying source of the crises that begins in 1774, in the wake of the coercive acts is to control us and from the british, we have the authority to government and consolidate our empire the way that gives us control from london in a way that we never exercised before. >> so when you talked about from london what was the communication back and forth between the colonies and london at that point and how long did it take to get answers etc. >> face after mind of my students, remember they don't have cell phones. and distance made a difference in the 18th century in a way that is hard for us to comprehend.
try to live in that foreign country in the past pretty across the atlantic it, it took six weeks one way and sometimes longer than that if your way across from america. it depends on the season but that meant that it was often three months before someone could go and you could get a response. and when atoms abigail and john were trying to mail letters to each other because they had something to, it would have to take almost a year pretty kind of back-and-forth to occur and sometimes, abigail said in the o'malley my letters to the ocean. but at any rate, it's distance that makes in time for different than and especially americans at
study in the 18th century need to recognize that. >> how widespread was the popularity of the rebellion among the 13 colonies pretty. >> there's a famous quotation from john adams that he cited and a lot of history books and he said that it is one third and one third and one third, one third the reporting one third that was against it in one wanted to be neutral and in fact, he was not talking about the american revolution when he said that, he was talking about the french revolution believe it or not in the historian students study the soils movement showed that about 20 percent or just slightly less than 5 percent of the working population, ended up as loyalists and the spectrum within the loyalists community refer those actively performed against them for much less than that. and people on the other side is simply wanted to remain neutral.
some of the comments that i may today become a would suggest that you were not allowed to remain neutral one of the secrets of the cause pretty you are forced to the local level to take a position and if you weren't willing to endorse the commitment to the principles of independence the pressures on you that eventually force you to change your mind or the town or perhaps leave the country. at any rate, i think that about one third of the people would've preferred to remain neutral and a bulk of the people after you get to 76 or 77, receipts from the national to the local level and they are willing to fight as militia to defend the neighborhoods and their states they're not willing to volunteer for the continental army. he said the allegiance become
more local the national and valley forge is a good example in the sense that the army is kept on life support throughout the war. and people who never come they were born lived out their lives and they died within a three day course ride the conception of america was quite local and not national pretty. >> longtime professor at williams amherst and west point in a law author of 11 books including pulitzer finding brothers the revolutionary generations in his most recent is the american revolution and its discontent, "the cause". joseph ellis and it was your chance to talk with him read vicki from austin texas, the
please go ahead with your question or comment pretty. >> thank you and i think you mentioned this in part but maybe you could be a little bit more specific i'm curious as to the percentage of americans really in the manual actively fought versus those who said biden waited for the outcome. then you answer this already and secondly, he reminded me more about what the truth was in the about the african-american. reporter: that your conduct down and just to tell you i very much look forward to your book regarding issue about slavery and will hang now and listen to your answer to be read. >> professor joseph ellis printed. >> is a lot of stuff there the last thing first the rhode island regimen was comprised almost of all african-americans by the end of the war he was as
the top combat group and they played a decisive role at the battle of yorktown and what happens to them afterwards, they were freed and in terms of their service if you serve for the duration of the war, and rhode island, would be recognized as free. to the best of my knowledge, individual soldiers and what happened to them and in terms of what happened to their lives. if she wants to do it, is an open field i think. but they were free. i think to the other parts of your question, only a small percentage of the population in the male population that were eligible to serve actually did and this was a sore point for washington. washington believed that we
could've had an easily an army of 60000 and he thinks demographically 8,400,000 if we had that number and they had a draft to force everybody to start that was eligible, we could've won the war in one or two years. hamilton agreed with that however, there was no draft and most of the people served one year terms and they would come and serve in the army for one year and then they would go back on the tightly learned the professional skills necessary to be an effective soldier, then left. in washington wanted an army of 60000 stirring for the duration, never got it. and i would say about 20 percent of the army was signed up for the duration and intended to be drawn from the lower parts of
society. and if you were a farmer, you didn't go to serve in the army, you stated in your town and you served in a militia and these were recent immigrants. they were servants, carpenters, another cream of the crop and again, that is one of the reasons that i think they need to be recovered it and noticed as real heroes in the war. and i think i've dropped a portion of your question but i think i will stop there pretty. >> richard, in new york, good afternoon. >> good afternoon and thank you for taking my call. mr. joseph ellis do you see similarities on safety inspection incident support the cause and with the type of chain that is going on today. >> oh wow, not sure what you have in mind in terms of shaming today.
my tendency would be to compare it not to today but due to it happened in the french revolution and the russian revolution. in one of the reasons out of america why is so large of loyalists and it is about 60 - 80000, is that they were not killed. if you were refusing to support the specific party in power the french revolution you went to the guillotine in russia he went to the firing squad wall. and so management was the ultimate penalty. and if you were the lawyer or whatever, your rights were not recognized in way that the local position would have as believe. and i think that there's no internet available in the 18th century and shaming the goes on
in the kind of politicization that occurs now and in those kind of forms of communication simply did not exist pretty things are more face-to-face so i think in comparison between then and now are to make. >> this is a text message from nelson in baltimore. would you comment on the thesis that the founders were more about collective rights and personal responsibility and might be surprised by the present-day emphasis on individual rights and the collective response. >> i agree with him, the divisions within the founders anytime of the founders that their coherent and collective they all agree. jefferson being an advocate for self-government which has libertarian implications but even jefferson himself assumed washington and hamilton another
said unrealistically, that people would internalize a since of their obligations as a collective and then this is jefferson that all citizens would be wearing a mask for enough getting inoculated. of course that is not true in all citizens did not support the war the way they would like. i think the recent question, extremely timely and important. they're not attempting to create a democracy, democracy in the late 18th century throughout this more and throughout the rest of the century is a real positive term. you accuse somebody of being and democrat were in favor of democracy and is not, we created a public pretty things of the public, the public is different from the people in the public is long-term and interest of the
people watching any given moment the majority of the people don't see. in the founders believed that we created a society in which the public interest should take precedence over the private interest are the popular interest at the moment and so i think based on what i can hear from listeners question, and i agree that the founders would be surprised at the degree to which the current government and society does not embrace the kind of public values they are to be central rated. >> here's the area code and talk with joseph ellis 748 - 8200. in (202)748-8201 if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones, and a line set aside for text messages only, and first name in your city,
(202)748-8903, text messages only and john in texas, good afternoon, you are on book tv rated. >> i and yes, thank you for taking my call i was fascinated with the founders and i wanted to ask the question about the book and all of your research after we won the war, how long did the founding fathers in totality think america would last always been fascinated with that pretty. >> well we were not a nation and lincoln in the gettysburg address, our fathers brought forth and on this continent a new nation but in the brought together a federation of sovereign states much like the confederacy of 1861. the league of nations and take a bit of almost take to get us to
the constitution, is really the constitution that you're asking about and how long did the founders think the constitution would last read and jefferson that should last no more than ten years, every ten years and should be redone in every generation needed to rethink it every generation needs to be sovereign and of course that could have been of recipe for anarchy and is not happy with it. medicine himself was asked the question in 1829, how long will it last. he's no man by then he said if you're really lucky, 100 years so that would've meant 1929 so the question is, the founders would be stunned that we still have the same document that they drafted and obviously with amendments and they would've thought that we would have at least one or two or three major
revisions and i'm showing my bias here but i think it would be absolutely stunned that we still have the electoral college with none of the really liked. and to take something out of the current conversation, the way in which the senate functions now with the filibuster and the way in which one senator can require a super majority they would stunned by that. and it's unconstitutional from that point of view read so yeah, living with the oldest constitution and in modern history the republic and many of them would say, or none of them wanted their values to dominatee rest of time but they thought they done the best they could for their time and start time to take over in the future.
>> now joseph ellis yearbook kids in about 1783 after the last battle of yorktown but it was not until 1787, then we had a constitution ratified. >> there are three counties, one independence, one when we decided to do the constitution one when we consolidate that constitutional government in the 1790s under the federalists. and at the end of the war, hamilton writes to washington and says, you can retire to mount vernon because all i will retire from public service because the wasted time and things have to get worse before they have to get better. were certain they're going to get worse in this confederation will be able to government won't be able to oversee the expansion
into the western territories coherently and every state will have its own foreign policy and is going to lead to anarchy. and probably injury division it of three separate confederations on the northern middle and southern. and so one of the reasons for the subtitles, his discontent and one of the discontents is the nation is not part of the conclusion of the war and takes an extra seven years for really non- violence through leading founders, washington, hamilton, and medicine to insist on the constitutional convention. >> bruce, in connecticut and i think i butchered the name of the town and i apologize pretty. >> like the cheshire cat anyway, thank you and having read your
books on adams and books on jefferson, poisoned adams on mount rushmore in place of jefferson or lisa next to him. >> chris 20 think he should be first. >> john adams look like he did all the hard work in europe and here but it seemed like he was the bulldog doing all of the work. [laughter] >> thank you bruce pretty. >> people doubt it monticello want to agree with you down but i am an adams fan and david and i testify before some committees in congress front again a monument or memorial. and i have been public said that i believe there ought to be an adams memorial on the tidal basin as sufficient distance from the jefferson boylston listening take turns casting shadows over each other's façades.
an adams was long overdue and i don't want him to be replaced by jefferson and i think that the correspondence in the twilight years, between 1812 - 1826, is the culminating correspondence of the revolutionary generation and some sense, the revolution is not complete until those two people are together. so i want to leave jefferson on mount rushmore and there's no place of their for adams but i don't think that any kind of stone monument with do adams justice nobles has to be flesh and blood but i appreciate the man's interest in adam's memory and i think he's very much of the way back and thanks to some of the things that i've written and also the hbo series and is in the memory of most americans in a way that he is often throughout much of history.
>> jenny harris from gary, indiana, want to talk to you professor joseph ellis and so few men joined the federal fight against the british, was there inviting between the sides for in the in the local areas. >> yes. in every town is different. and therefore it's almost impossible to make a kind of generalization, different neighborhoods and different ways of dealing with the loyalists and in deerfield, massachusetts which is hardly typical what we know as much rather because is preserved in the local records of what is surprising is the way in which people would actually support this cause quite conspicuously through the war welcomed the back and then they become mayors of the town or doing citizens in the governing of the town and in other places,
is different pretty and especially in the south in the southern states where there is terrorist groups on both sides throughout the war and the atrocities that are committed and the lingering kind of tribalism. almost the hatfields and the mccoys so the story varies from place to place pretty i think that again, the war is a traumatic experience and it takes at least a generation for people to be able to come together without the wounds of the war inflicting their interactions pretty. >> peter from ohio, you're on with historian joseph ellis. >> thank you and professor joseph ellis, in your opinion was the war in the west and that would be the eventually become the northwest territory in the ohio country. thank you.
>> at the time, it is seen that important, there is a war in the west in new york and in a sense that and 78, washington said percent 5000 troops to stop the native american massacres that are occurring there in new york. the native americans tended to flee into canada so there's not a huge casualty rate but it is an early preview of the indian removal. i think that the war never gets far beyond the atlantic coast for a reason that the british army once it goes inland, is vulnerable. and once it removes itself from the protection of the british fleet, it could be part start to get to get used after saratoga
and the goal is to trap an entire army that is basically what happens at yorktown as well as notes on the coast. so the west becomes important extraordinarily important, essential in the 1780s and the 1790s and the time that i am focusing on and is not a central theater. >> the next call for joseph ellis comes from alabama, grace, please go ahead. >> yes, i would like to talk with joseph ellis on the comments on slavery and we have heard from historians recently claiming that the colonials want to defy the british because they they thought they would take the slavery away like his opinion on that. >> and affected, professor and on that income and in general the 6019 project.
>> okay i'll look myself in the ideological wars in the sense that i believe slavery is america's original sin. and that racism is toxic residue and that is a fact i disagree with the historians who believe that or argue the colonists came together primarily to sleep in that same slavery in my judgment, that's historically inaccurate, came together because there were being oppressed and eventually invaded it by hostile army and by the time the vote for independence, you can read what they say in response to revolution but adamson's out in may of 1776, every town and county and virginia happen down the coast, as you why they're going to work there going to war because you have no choice because george the third has disowned them.
they have already watched the town of portland being burned to the ground there about to be invaded by an army that's famous for not taking prisoners and raping the women and that is what is on their minds at the time pretty and the same number roughly eight - 10000 african-american served in the american army in the british army. and if you are a slave, and mount vernon british army become spy, you can escape and many of them did they try to pretty you didn't have to read the declaration of independence to note that you wanted to be free and on the other hand, there is also african-americans were fighting for the cause and washington's man servant billy the most famous african-american and around at the time because he's washington's man servant and everybody gets to know him. slavery becomes crucial issues certainly by the time the
constitutional convention but i believe and this is where part company with 81690 and the 76 people is that the immersion revolution was part of the basis of the principles that were incompatible with slavery and that the prominent american leaders washington, madison jefferson, they all said that that is a contradiction and the great late historian of slavery, coined a phrase called the parish abilities revolutionary time. ... ...
>> i see the revolution as a war as the end of slavery not the other way around. >> the newest book is the cause of the american revolution and its discontent 1773 to 1783 he has been our so i see the revolution as a war for black rights and an end to slavery, not the other way around. >>s joseph ellis, his book is "the cause." he has beenth our guest on this call-in program for the national book festival. thank you, professor ellis.
>> guest: thanks forking having me. >>s now, booktv's coverage of the national book festival continues. d in about half an hour, we're going to have another call-in opportunity, but first you're going to hear from two authors talking about the opioid epidemic. and after that one of the authors, "the coal country's fight against the drug companies," talking about the opioid epidemic, will be joining us. booktv's coverage of the national book festival continues. .. >> thank you so much for joining us for this great discussion about your book, "paradise: one town's struggle to survive an american wildfire."