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tv   H.W. Brands Our First Civil War  CSPAN  January 3, 2022 6:51am-8:01am EST

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>> the first question occurred to me because of something you said, actually they both did, you said it was being debated for future use how do you think about that? would you be opposed? >> no one's ever asked me that question before. i believed i was going to live forever, so if that's all i get. if that's the only form it's interesting because i think a lot of writers like all creative people believe that's something that's going to last after they're gone some sort of consciousnessso that is going to persist and what does that look
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like. i don't know that it's quite the same. there is an ai generated elvis song out there. to feed it a bunch of songs like pop songs in the style of billie holiday or anybody. they are okay. they are not great. it's something i would definitely listen to but it can only get better from here i
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guess. >> question, books connected with people he and i look forward to reading your book but word their books were writers dealing with this in the same way because it doesn't seem that the people in silicon valley think the same way. >> there were a lot of books i found useful when i was researching this book. one is the restless clock and she writes about the philosophy and how she goes back to i think the 16th century and talks about how we've always had this question about how what it means to be human in contrast to machines, so that was a good context. another i talked about the human
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condition, which is a fascinating book she was writing much earlier so early computers and things like space exploration but basically the same question i was interested in. we are living in this world where because there's advancedan technology and quantum physics where it's's becoming clear there's limits to what we can understand as humans and kind of like i talked about before are we going to depend on our human point of view to this reality that is baffling to us so there's two books i guess that are really important to me. >> are we getting towards the end? we might have time for one more
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question otherwise i'm happy to wrap up. thank you all for coming. i appreciated the questions and it's a pleasure to talk about the book. [applause] and now on booktv, more television for serious readers. >> welcome to the miami international book fair. it is my pleasure today to introduce to you history professor at the university of texas austin. he's written numerous books on american history that have been received to great acclaim and i can tell you they are very
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readable and not at all the kind of things that give history books a bad name. the first civil war patriotic's in the american revolution and i'm looking forward to discussing this book with him. thank you so much. the book is a great read and i enjoyed it very much. i thought i knew a lot about american history, but i've learned so much. let's start with aic basic question of why did you write this book and what did you hope the readers would get out of it? you probably don't know by which the process they gained independence fromta great brita. >> thanks for the introduction.
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i wanted to convey a sense of how complicated history is in general. it is a very strong misconception [inaudible] and that is correct enough but it's more complicated than that. who didn't want independence from britain at all.
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it might not be an improvement and this is the part when for the first time george washington, maybe benjamin franklin and the redcoats are on the other side. it's between those americans who wanted independence and those who did not and who called themselves patriots and loyalists and there was a
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struggle between the two differentt parties. it wasn't between [inaudible] and just remind readers that it's complicated even if you don't know all of the details of the complication, it is indeed a
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complicated. getting the message across i do -- i do it in ways that i find myself gravitating to particular characters through the lives and experiences of several characters. i try to make these individuals come alive and try to convey to the reader my understanding of what prompted them
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in the story, it was obvious. george washington would become this. that is the part that i find intriguing. george washington was one of the least likely robles that you would find. more seriously dissatisfied with the status quo. they were binding begins over killing in the revolution. the status quo went really well for george washington. it should be a little bit of
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puzzle as to why george washington became a revolutionary. it is obvious that he will become a revolutionary. i look at george washington, i look at benjamin franklin. george washington, it worked even better for franklin. he became famous within the empire. he did not get excited about the british empire. frenchmen franklin was in empire it was within the british empire and the opportunities of the british empire that they became
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the most famous of this time. the american revolutionary war. he would've lived his life as a virginia lanter. if there was no -- there is no declaration made. he was in susie asked of the tradition empire. he turneded against the british empire. it is very common to think the revolution as a young person against the old generation. and benjamin franklin's case, he
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became a rebel. an in addressing a personal side of the same story. franklin remain this spirit the sun was more of the one who stuck with the status quo. this is why i wrote the book. >> a really fascinating way. you know, conventional america revolution narrative usually begins in schools and such. beginning with the signing of the declaration of the independence more accurately the battles of mexican. reaching a fact.
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the french and indian war. even a decade before that. we see the roots of this bifurcation going back long before there was an actual conflict whereas you also point out, for benjamin franklin, into 177075, he was still hoping for reconciliation. an arrangement could be achieved whereby the united states, where the colonies would become partners with the british motherland in the empire. i was wondering if you could
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elaborate on that because ie think that it is also a very fresh roach. >> yes. the french and indian war. there's this question of what causes a person to turn their back on the country and take arms against it. how are those records created? it comes over period of time. they will both become patriots. born british subjects. they are all proud of themselves as englishmen. look at the life that they had as englishmen and they were represented in parliament to not be taxed without their consent.
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the british freedoms over 800 years since magna carta. they looked around at people who lived in other countries and other empires and they considered themselves a little bit more privileged. or the spanish. they are proud of their image. something was going to have to happen. to put it another way, born english. it somehow became americans. the patriotism became american. and this is kind of a puzzle. it may be just a generational thing.
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they think of themselves differently as time changes. benjamin franklin, a prime sub back to the british empire. he all of a sudden starts thinking otherwise.n, it did come along suddenly. nonetheless, he basically claimed a new identity. mr. john adams, george washington and other patriots. the real list, they do not embrace thisra new identity. they still think of themselves as traditional subjects. this question of, who are you? how do you identify? paraded in this new identity. it is also behind all sorts of
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conflicts. who are you? who do you think you are? so, there is that aspect of it. the probe mozilla franklin, this was franklin's father's dream that the british government -- they have sense enough to recognize that the future of the tradition empire actually lay in north america. franklin had done some demographic work. he could see that the population of reddish north america -- this was a much more rapid than what was happening. having to extrapolate out a few decades. more englishmen, more britons than there were in --.
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the british can see that this was the future of their empire. if the british could see that, they could be the greatest thing. franklin in the identity of a britain. he spent almost 20 years of his life in the american revolution living in london as an agent for the american colonial legislatures. he was born in boston. he had ran away to philadelphia and to establish himself as a figure in philadelphia. he went to england as a representative and he spent 18 years there. franklin was one of those who
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was always looking for the bigger stage. in fact, it almost woke his heart that london was not expecting him. the british were too short sighted. inequality and britain. franklin imagined what a great thing this would be in the british just could not be persuaded. because they refused to accept that, they treated franklin -- his whole life. basically, if these idiots in london cannot see, basically, he was certainly aware of his talent and capability. it was a moment, actually,
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pinpoint the moment in time. a major answer for the sins of the boston tea party. destroying millions of dollars in currency. a massive case of vandalism. only the american knows the british government. benjamin franklin, the ones closest at hand. [inaudible] he was made to stand there and just sit there in silence. in that two hour session, he went into that session and
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englishmen and walk out an american. one of the ironies was what we see in the race and try to re-create in the 20th century. this special relationship of americans. often talking to these americans his mother was american and his father was british. the british finally came around in the 20th century. a recognition that a partnership between american and britain is bthe best thing. franklin was not wrong two years
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earlier. >> also in the book was that while members of parliament -- there was considerable so for among ordinary britons and what theyot were asking for. i thought there was a really interesting thing that i've never understood before. i am sure that there many people listening now had not heard of that. tremendous sub or among the non-governmental elite for the idea of the colonists having the rights they were asking for. >> how complicated history is. americans were not unified in their opposition to britain.
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british were not unified in their refusal to grant americans to be americans are better patriots. this underscores the fact that all wars are ultimately political events. and they are driven by political motives and they and when politics and. when the gun start going off military there is e very important. it is still a political act. what the americans understood was that they did not have, the patriots understood, they did not have to destroy the british army. all they really had to do was convince the british electorate that it was no longer worth fighting. in this regard, the american revolution was the first, an early example of a nationalist
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revolution of a kind that would become common in the 19th andhe 20th century. the united states will get on the wrong, side in vietnam. george washington and american leaders understood something that help them. we do not have to defeat the foreign occupiers. all you have to do is weigh them down to the point that the decision-makers back in the other country, when they say we had enough, that is when we win. george washington did not have to win the war. all he had to do was avoid losing the war. saying this is not worth it anymore. the decision of the two sides, they are not symmetrical.
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the americans were fighting for their existence. it would be the end of it. the laws of the american colonies would by no means be the end of the british empire. and, so, it was easier for the british to say, enough is enough they had to give up this thing that they had created. identifying as traders by the british government. there would've been sanctions. >> could you also talk about britain and france impact thing howen readily the american and r evolutionary war was fought. how critical french support was
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to the colonists. >> sure. a very large role. the french and indian war was not against the indians. we will call them americans. and their indian allies against the french and the french indian allies. it was americans and british and french and native americans. native americans had to decide who to choose. a little how to deal with the relationships they had with the british on one hand and the
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french on the other. he was going to come out of this which of those invaders will win you did not want to choose the sides of losers. so, this sets the scene for all of this. the perspective of your in history, the american revolutionary war is simply the sequel to the french and indian war. it really was preceded in the century. what was going on was the empire britain was fighting the empire of france. there is also an empire of spain that is involved in this as well in doing so, a position in north america. and, so, american patriots by george washington and john adams
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, when they decided independence, they knew what they would have to fight for. and, so, numerous fights, it would be of great help to have a foreign ally. analyte that has money, that has resources that can provide military support, the united states had none. one of the first things that the continental congress did was prepared to send benjamin franklin off to france to try to negotiate with this new united states in france. it was a difficult undertaking. while the french wanted revenge against printed, at the end of the french and indian war,
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france had been ejected from north america. britain claimed all of canada and spanned and all of that. the americans knew this. they were thinking that france would be inclined. something that had to be negotiated. the french had to be persuaded because from thene standpoint of grants, okay, taking on britain, weakening the empire, that is on usus. these are revolutionaries. revolutionary by overthrowing their king. it was a difficult negotiation. it really required a major
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american battlefield for three. they wanted to know if the americans were serious and if they had a chance to win. joining the side of the americans. then you have americans lose. taking onen britain alone. building up the military, building up their army. not quite ready to take on britain again. this seems opportune. the last thing the french wanted to have happen was france to side with the americans. before france waske able to do . they had to persuade french officials. they were going to keep fighting until their independence. in fact they tried the same
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thing. the spanish would not form with the united states. they indirectly supported the united states. in the case of the spanish, this also granted something with the french to consider, to. well, okay, maybe we will help the americans now, but are we creating a monster? this vanish seeing britain weekend. they did not want this in the united states because spain has lots of territory in northern america. if the united states got to strong then spain would have to defend the territory with the united states. if you were of spain or france,
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how is this all going? >> a very interesting situation in this. i think that the american revolution and did the french and indian war before this. the french against the indians. you had native americans on both sides. i had occasion to visit an exhibit of washington, d.c. that gave the war of 1812 a canadian perspective. it is certainly the fact there's that the community had a very different respect to. it really occupied what many of the american colonists wouldto have liked to make part of the
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newly independent colonies. from the book, it makes it quite clear that americans even have a hard time understanding patriots have a hard time understanding why canadian would want to remove part of the british empire rather than join them in independence. your subject is quite intriguing. i am wondering if you could elaborate. >> absolutely. the 13 colonies that declared and tendons, they wanted to get canada to join as well. the canadians share their british rights and everything else.
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the canadians did not see it that way. and a lot of them were french to begin with. and, so, it is not as though they are acutely sensitive on the subject of the rights of englishmen. if you are french, you still off the rights of englishmen. the grievances that americans claim against britain. there actually by the canadians. a better deal than being part of france had been. another way of this is i talk about the patriot in the 13 colonies. that is going on, too, in canada , except for in canada they are.
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we got what we want, let's keep it. it is not out of the question that things similar could have ndhappened in one or more of the 13 british colonies. north carolina could have said the independence movement. another way of thinking about it is, staying english. except for there was this different. because canada did not become part of the british empire until 10 or 12 years before, the conflict of the american revolution, they would not think of canada as one of their own. they were not part of the
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correspondence and that sort of thing. the canadians were always this different group. forcing to invade canada to persuade them to join. it is in invasion to persuade you. now, it is true. trying to talk the canadians into it. and made t it even harder. the british actually rose some very interesting questions. canada not part of the british empire. it is annt independent country. when the loyalist in the 18 colonies continue to outnumber the patriots. and, so, there were complaints
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against london but it did not rise to a level of starting a war. presumably, the united states becoming independent at some point. just as canada became independent. for example, the british empire and slavery because the united states ended slavery. what american slavery had ended? maybe, on the other hand, the large numbers of some people in the united states and british empire making it harder. in the end, so then, the futures of the united states and canada diverge in the 1970s and kind
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of coming back together. giving home rule which is independence. in canada today, very independent. and so, just as though there is a separation between the united states and britain and they came back together in the 19th century, all of this had happened. it impacted everybody. the s same vision that benjamin franklin had. look atwi their lives peacefull. >> i find the different aspects of slavery that are raised in the book and the personalities of some that you highlight can
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be extremely interesting. made to enslave people. they would receive their freedom it got a lot more complicated than that. they were in fact not honored. i thought that that was a really interesting aspect of the book. reading quite often about how this promise of freedom was granted to slaves particularly in the north. as you say, many of the slaves would come to the owners who fought on the british side even
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though they had been promised their freedom. only if the british one the war. so, if you could just say a few words about the whole issue and complexity of slavery. giving slaves their freedom on both sides of this civil war. >> yes. when the war began, the british empire, slavery was practice in all 13 of the american colonies. in other british colonies as well. it occurred to the british government that it promise of freedom may weaken the patriots side. it was observed that that slaves were workforce. b
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if the british government could promise freedom to slaves, patriot masters enticing though slaves to crossover. originally, it was a matter of the s patriots. this was sanitized minute. before long, the british also decided to put people, enslave people that left and came over a capacity to put them into the british s army. now, for the enslaved peoples, this was a potential peril because it is a big deal to decidepe, okay, i will stay.
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it is worth noting that you often had to turn your back on the war and basically take a leap of faith on the war. the second waste that they would keep their promises. the fortune and hazards of what you had to deal with. simply trying to escape to the dbritish are light. if you are captured, what would happen to you? returning to their master. and, so, whether in enslaved person took up the british offer depending on a whole bunch of different fact there is.
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they did not even know that the offer has been made. they do not publicize this british author. secondly, the question of how far do i have to go. for slaves on plantations that were far from the fighting zone, taking out the british author. it was too risky to get to where they were. the british army approached and it looked more reasonable. there was also how did they -- by the way, it was mostly them. the ones who are most likely to leave were more of the military age.
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they had all sorts of calculations. he watched as the british army o the plantation getting lived this is critical. it may require a broadening of our perspective of what life was like for slaves. they took every opportunity. in this case, he thought that he in fact said his parents, his father and particular was skilled. given the alternatives. there were a couple of reasons of treatment.
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thinking about the situation would get worse.he going over to the british line. running along with the british army. he suffered -- he became badly ill. things were causing battles. he got away again. he finally wound up in new york city. may be a reminder that even in the best times, new york city brought a stronghold. it was partly because they had close commercial ties with england. they were not able to break those. it was relatively easy for the british navy to occupy and hold.
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washington found himself in new york. that is when the war ended. he heard through the grapevinew that the tradition army, british negotiators and terrorists, they were giving up on the slaves. they were abandoning the promise that theyci had made to the slas so, it was a terrible thing in washington thought he would be worse off than he ever was that did not happen. taking up a british author. evacuated with tens of thousands coming with a black british american loyalists. as many as 100,000.
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leading the country. leading the united states to the end of the war. this is an interesting chapter. it is kind of like the good guys win at the end. in fact, i was thinking about this when we launched the end of the war enough gamma stand -- the war in afghanistan. doing our best to get out of afghanistan. lots of bad feelings on the part of the afghans who have been against the americans. and, so, they needed to get out of there. they evacuated, i'm not going to say is many as they could, but very many of the former slaves.
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becoming t a candidate thatev eventually found its way in west africa. those kind of a straightforward scoring. making a move out of his own self-interest. i look at the situation of my mother who was a slave of theos patriot master. he did not opt just to fight on behalf ofk the patriots. he went to fight on the side that will deny him freedom in the future. the outside one. to his surprise and pleasure. you have done such a good job during the war.
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this question, it is a huge deal . >> very fascinating here. another thing that i think is least represented, we have visions of the continental army troop wearing these nice blue uniforms. playing yankee doodle and things like that. your book makes it quite evident that much of the war was fought by state militias and informal militia group which had a hard time feeding and funding the fighting on the patriots side. i find it very, very interesting
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deemphasis that you put on the fact that war is expensive. when you feed them, you need to be able to get food somewhere. the very vivid descriptions that you provide from the letters from washington, for example, going to the royalist side, the patriots come in and they take away all the food to feed their soldiers. another side comes into another marriage affiliated with the opposite side. they take away the grain. and yet the true's -- i'm wondering if you could elaborate on these very vivid descriptions that you give about the difficulty of feeding and
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clothing and housing troops for the number of years that the revolutionary war went on. >> the problems of some wording the continental army. this was in agrarian society that is america in those days. it hardly had road. the relatively few places where children gathered in large numbers, american cities were modest in size. they had been going there for a long time. feeding new york and philadelphia. it's not a coincidence. bringing in shiploads of stuff. when the army goes to war, all of a sudden you have 10,000 people, 15,000ot people.
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the numbers of surgeries engaged in the campaigns in the left unturned revolutionary war for very small by comparison with rules that we think of in world war i and world war ii, korea, iraq and afghanistan. typically between 10 and 15,000 members. they are in the rotation that is not necessarily deadly. in fact, necessarily not. not set up to bring in everything that they need. what they often have to do is simply go scrounge on the countryside. now, because they were farmers, they knew how to slaughter the cow and they knew how to cook it in all of this.
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that is not -- not going to be very happy with this carl. one of the things that washington had, of course how do you feed your forces without alienating the people taking the food from. the british have an advantage here because they control the water. that patriots could not. the continental army could not. they had to live off of the land washington, this is when the uniforms were falling off of them. okay, i've got to keep them
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starving, but on the other hand, i cannot starve the farmers and the surrounding area by depriving them of what they neet to live. it really was just a balancing act. washington became extremely frustrated with the continental congress. they were supposed to be providing to fight this war. [inaudible] they had no coercive authority. they could not come hell them to pair up. so much of this and so much of that they could request. very often they refuse their request.
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and so, a great amount of george washington's time was writing letters pleading with congress and pleading with governors of the state. you have to send us uniforms, you have to send us supplies or the army will fall apart. the british ultimately have the option of saying enough is enoughd, we are going home. a if they found that they were starving or it was often worse for them. they would get letters saying that their wives and children were starving. very simply taking absence without leaving. washington, there were times when washington finds himself --
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it's not as if they were deserting the british, but deserting to try to be with their family. it is a difficult situation for any body. >> at the end of the war, so many people on both sides, the royalist side in the patriot side have lost so much in terms of their homes and families and their resources. honestly, taking all and having very little sympathy for royalist who lost everything. i am wondering if you can talk a little bit about the postwar relations between the patriotad and if that cross between them was eventually healed or whether
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it took new forms within american civil society that would leave a legacy behind that maybe we are still dealing with today. >> answering your question looking at two examples. joseph was a leader of the mohawk tribe.'m he was a talented young man. this guys going places. he became a leader just about the time the troubles between american colonies were hadeveloping. they had to make their choice. do you side with the americans or do you side with the british? they split the ranks of the americans.
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the confederacy. joseph believed that their future was the british. thisca was partly because he had close family and friendship ties to british officials who actually give good relationship. but also because the rules, if the americans gained their independence, turning their inventions. he recognized the best thing would be for the americans to run the reddish empire. there been protect thing against indian settlers. across the nation by the british government in 1763.
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no longer legally settling across. you're constantly getting into a fight with the indians. that is a good thing for us. he wanted to keep that. he sided with the british. the british wound up losing. his people were driven into exile. they took refuge in canada where the british government of canada set aside. they did reasonably well. actually going on to greater things. the american patriots, george washington in particular. at least not -- turning out to be a dip will map as well as military leader.
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he recognized that, okay, we will have to make our lease witt the americans. do the best that we can. washington recognized we will have to deal with a confederacy. the equivalent of serving with nato. becoming a favorite of george washington. visiting washington when washington was present. treated with great respect when he traveled home to new york city. everybody wanted to go to dinner with joseph brant. call that a happy ending to the story. a good relationship with the patriot side. william franklin spotted over this question who will you be loyal to you? benjamin franklin says my loyalty is to my new country.
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william franklin held onto his position. the newly appointed governor in newou jersey. he held that position as long as he could. when things changed he was driven by force in his office and he was arrested. he was held in custody for many months. he became ill and eventually, he was exchanged. he had to go to new york city. he organized a loyalist militia. engaging in welfare against patriot forces across the hudson river. he criticized the british government for not fighting hard enough, for giving up too soon. we think of the last battle, the battle of your town, the british
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could have cap fighting. but they decided that it was just not worth it. the government in britain, our new government came in and said we will change things. franklin was very distant pointed. greater dismay with the british. i risked my life for you. akin to the feeling of the afghans. william franklin went to england nobody really wanted to talk. a little bit like the reception given to some american vietnam vet after the war. the same thih william franklin.
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he received attention from the british government. really could not be reconciled with americans generally. he hoped he could be reconciled with his father. the political split. at the end of the war, benjamin franklin who had been in paris ecnegotiating with the french government turns to the united states. he stops in southern england. benjamin franklin holds out the hand of record filiation. let bygones be bygones. benjamin franklin would have nothing to do with it. he felt really wounded by the fact that his son had not sided with him in the british
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government. this was a case, it is almost hard to explain after the war was over, just wake up. he could not be with his own son. >> i think that our time is just about up. is there anything that i should have asked you about the book that i did not? >> i can add that our viewers are still curious. >> i highly recommend it. thank you so much.
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>> democratic senator briscoe. the partisanship and senate. here's a portion of their conversation. >> you have to trust you will talk to somebody that they will listen to what you have to say. share your thoughts back with you. that is important. you have to trust that when you get together that somebody just does not walk away from you. leaving you high and dry. partnerships in business as well as personal relationships. you have to have more of that. if you are not going to have that, you will not cross the aisle. to get out of here. something like that. if you feel like you can go talk to somebody, having any question
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in my mind about who to talk to. several republicans. they were going to listen what i had to say. john mccain and i were able to do several things together. i did not agree with him or his positions on other things. the other thing is, you cannot be like the hunting dog. you've got to pick and choose things that you will raise. people will not listen to anything that you have to say. you have to know your personal on the other side of the aisle. i don't think you can expect to do this. yeah people on the other side of the aisle. who do you feel comfortable
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talking to. having to have some good ideas about why you want to do something to gather. >> to watch the rest of this program visit click on the afterwards tab. ♪♪ >> weekends on c-span2. every saturday documenting another story. on sunday, book tv nine christian books and authors. funding comes from these television companies and more. including spotlight. >> it is our home, to. right now we are all facing our latest challenge. working around the clock to keep you connected. making it a little easier to do
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