tv The Presidency Most Hated Presidents in American History CSPAN October 13, 2021 7:17pm-8:50pm EDT
our weekly series the presidency highlights the policies of u.s. presidents and first ladies. up next, what do thomas jefferson, abraham lincoln, lyndon johnson and richard nixon heaven common? they face not just political opponents but americans who actually hated them. what were the reasons? an american historical association panel discussed the
answers to those questions. >> -- you already know, because you signed up for this webinar, we are here to talk about presidents and hatred. two contextual points, i think that may be helpful from the start, i mentioned this to my daughter today, and her first question was, are you doing that because of president trump? and i said, well, i suspect that's why we wanted to do it in the first place, but we are not talking about president trump, we are talking about presidents in history. no doubt he will show up in the q&a but obviously we will try to keep focused on those for whom we have a greater historical perspective. then she asked another question. she's a sharp cookie. she said, well, all presidents are disliked. how do you decide which wants to focus on? and i said, well, we are exploring. obviously in the best of cases, almost half the country didn't
vote for you, but that doesn't mean that we don't have the special cases, where we have particular elements of the country who are hating in despising more than simply dislike. and we are going to explore the difference between presidents who are opposed and presidents who are antithetical to the american way of life, according to their critics. without further ado, we will proceed in chronological order. we are discussing thomas jefferson, abraham lincoln, franklin d. roosevelt, lyndon b. johnson, and richard nixon. i think you can see why those were chosen. and we will begin with thomas jefferson by starting out with joanne b. freeman, history professor at yale university. she is the author of a series of honor, editor of wartime alexander hamilton. her most recent book, i highly
recommend, is violence in congress and the road to civil war. without further ado, joanne b. freeman, tell us why we should hate jefferson. >> i always check when i do everything here. i hope everyone can hear me good in audio and. i will now discuss certainly why some people hated thomas jefferson. i want to begin by saying that in recent years when i have been asked what's moments in american history share echoes with our polarized president, one of my responses typically is the late 17 nineties. as an early americanist, i am aware that these late 17 nineties do not have some of the pizzazz potential for polarization as say the 18 fifties in the civil war. but the intense polarization of federalists and republicans, the extreme othering, each view
the other as an american, the press predictions on both sides of chaos, tehrani and anarchy. the violence that president john adams later described as terrorism, using actually that word -- the echoes of polarization and hate, between past and present are clearly real. but what can this kind of historical speech offer in the way of insight? part of what i'm going to be discussing in my brief comments this afternoon, is that they are different flavors of presidential hate. some more intense than others. some more personal than others. some more prone to weaponization than others. so i want to say they are different flavors of presidential hatred. and i use that word because there is something sensory about real hatred for president. i'm curious to see how that
does or doesn't make sense, as that continues with his round table. jefferson certainly was not immune to hatred when he became president in 1801. as the supposed head of the republican party and a leader prone to speaking large, as a friend one said, meaning prone to making broad, sometimes extreme ideological pronouncements, people who disagreed with jefferson often hated him. but his ideas and for his likelihood that his ideas could lead to the collapse of the republic. generally speaking, federalists believe that republicans favored a dangerous degree of democracy. meaning, i'm going above and beyond elections, popular participation, protests and otherwise, in american politics. certainly among the many things that jefferson spoke large about, democracy was one.
fear about ungovernable democracy intensified in the maiden late 1790s with the explosion of the french revolution. the period that spawned adams remarks about terrorism. and he describes in this later letter, some people arming themselves at the presidential mansion, afraid of what was going on in the street. so for him that moment was very real. then came the presidential election of 1800, when the federalists versus republican polarization came to a peak. then, as now, selecting a president was seen as something of a referendum on what the nation wanted. during a time of extreme polarization, it felt like a turning point. so not surprisingly, he should've jefferson shortly before and after the election of 1800 was emotional, even hysterical at times, premised on the conviction that
jefferson, viewed by federalists as a french loving infidel radical, who took the nation down a path of destruction. given that jefferson was a soon to be president at the time we are talking about here, this hatred was largely grounded on predictions, symbolism, ideology and campaign rhetoric, rather than any actual actions that he had a chance to take as president. and you can see this kind of free floating off versus them hatred in some letter sent to jefferson, within his first year as president. like the one informing jefferson of an assassination plot supposedly brewing in new york. and as the author wrote, shocking to relate, shocking. nothing seems to have come of it, it may not be real, but jefferson saw that not long after becoming president.
or the anonymous hate mail that jefferson got that referred to, among other things, quote, you and your tribe of foreign outcasts and, quote, jefferson's bosom friend, france. there we see france is kind of standing in as the ultimate other. jefferson, we literally, through that letter being the others representative. one of those outcast as well. however, it being a hatred being borne of, as i mentioned before, symbolism and ideology and campaign rhetoric, and that kind of fear -- kind of an extreme example of this that i can't resist mentioning, only because it shows you the degree to which, and there are some echoes of familiarity here, that that boils down to some pretty minute things that still felt as though they had broad political cultural -- one federalist focused on jefferson's cues as being an indication of his ideology and
the ways in which he was a threatening president. they mocked him, actually the statement they made is, a philosophical president prefers shoe strings when other folks who are buckles. in one way or another, jefferson saying that buckles are superfluous an anti republican. shoelaces, apparently, or in style in france. that actually is another french anti french statement. but again, othering jefferson. that kind of prevailing flavor of hatred changed dramatically during jefferson second term, which included his much hated them 1807 embargo act, which attempted to punish french interference with american trade. not surprisingly, the act had a disastrous impact on the commerce. you can really feel the impact of that hatred in jefferson's hate mail from this period. like the anonymous letter from
boston, that read, i have agreed to pay four of my friends 400 dollars to shoot you if you don't take off the embargo, which i shall pay them, if i have to work on my hands and knees for it. you are one of the greatest tyrants in the whole world, worse than bonaparte, i wish you could feel as bad as i feel. with six children around you crying and have starved. that's a profoundly personal kind of an insult there. let specific but clearly bursting with a sense of similar personal outrage and suffering, are two remarkably concise letters, and i'm going to read them. one, read in its entirety, quote, you are the, damnedest fool that god put life into. god you. period. that was it. go to bleep bleep. that was it. that's intense hate. and that's intense hate driven
by the policy and it was driven in the north. people were so outraged, in what was going on, in a personal way, that they fill that out onto the paper. intense, real hatred. that kind of hate, it seems to me, is not as easy to weaponize. vague, fear driven, polarizing hatred in the 1800 election that had new england or's burying their bibles. that kind of hatred, particularly because it's not necessarily personal and not grounded necessarily in fact, that's very easy to weaponize. and thus it must have a great impact during and long after an election. and i will be very interested in seeing whether these, flavors of hate and weaponization of hate in more
modern times, how that plays out in the comments of my colleagues here, particularly given the new forms of media that we are seeing. and that are increasingly effective in spreading that hate around. i will stop there, thank you very much, and i will turn things over, i think, too manisha. ... >> the phrase of the year is, you are muted. thank you, joanne. think you especially for giving us those flavors, which as you said, i think will be helpful as we go ahead. let me remind everyone that this is around table discussion, so we are generally interested in fielding questions, and you can go down to the question and answer function in your chat. and offer those questions. we are going to move chronologically to the civil
war, to abraham lincoln. and we are going to manisha sinha, the slush and your fellow at the ratcliffe institute at harvard university, author of the history of abolition. a book remarkably easy to recommend. thank you manisha for joining us and please telling us about the annals of presidential history. >> thank you jeff for inviting me to be a part of this round table. and for that introduction. i am going to share my with you, so my presentation is enlivened by a few slides.
to start off, i have a confession. for the last few weeks, i've been rather confused about my charge today. blame it on the pandemic. for some reason, i thought i was supposed to speak about andrew johnson. lincoln successor, rather than abraham lincoln. but when one thinks of the most despised american presidents, one usually does not think of lincoln. but johnson is consistently placed at the bottom of historians ranking of american presidents. lincoln is usually in contention for number one or two. luckily, i read the description of the roundtable again, and the description i had sent. before preparing my remarks today. and i realized i was supposed to talk about lincoln.
often one of the most beloved presidents, around the globe. this is not the case, as lincoln was elected president in 1860. he remains the only president in american history whose election caused nearly half the states in the republic to succeed and inaugurated a bloody civil war that ended 800,000 american lives. just that fact alone, i think, winds him the most despise category. abraham lincoln was not an abolitionist. that is, a person who believed in the immediate abolition of slavery and black citizenship before the war. i should say before i continue, there's a slide i'm showing right now, it's an extra that shows and announces that the union has been -- south carolina succeeded from the union a month after lincoln
was elected, followed by other deep south states. so lincoln was not an abolitionist, though, he was a moderate anti slavery republican, elected on a platform of the non extension of slavery into the territories. that program, some historians have argued, could lead to abolition. but it was not abolition. throughout the 18 sixties, lincoln, a moderate anti slavery politician, and here's a picture of him from the 1850s. this is a young lincoln lawyer. so he was a moderate anti slavery politician, he had adhered pretty tenaciously to the reform of the non expansion of slavery, a constitutionally defensible position. since the federal government had the constitutional power to end slavery in the territories but even certain states themselves. lincoln had balanced this
competing loyalty to anti-slavery, the union, and the constitution, even though in his speeches, starting as early as the 18 thirties, he had expressed his opponents to slavery as raucously as any abolitionist. and his balancing act here was expressed in his qualified support for the draconian fugitive slave law of 1850. lincoln argued that protections for freed blacks must accompany the constitutionally mandated rendition. during the famous lincoln douglass debate in 1868, which catapulted him to fame, lincoln feud political expediency and long held beliefs, and made clear his opposition to equal citizenship and voting rights for african american. and the colonization of freed blacks back to africa, a position that both rabbit southern secessionists and
abolitionists supposed. lincoln was waiting to compromise on abolition in the south, but not on the non extension platform in the republican party. abolitionists hailed his election as a victory. certainly, most southerners viewed him as perhaps a step better than an abolitionist, and actually an abolitionist in the skies. remember, one of his most ardent critics argued, for the first time, the slave has chosen a president of the united states. unquote. and most slave holders and democrats agreed, they had regularly had anti slavery republicans for -- black republicans. there was a special hire for them. there was no difference between an abolitionist and an anti slavery republican like lincoln, who desired, as he put it, the
ultimate extinction of slavery in the american republic. it was the 19th century version of woke politics. in the north, support for lincoln, democrats argue the racist elements, that this inward-ism, has as dark view as this or frederick douglass. the secessionists -- claimed that rankin's running mate was a milan toe. and had african blood. the black abolitionist, who viewed like and personally, viewed, i am everything the south hates. since they had evidence of this dislike of mr. lincoln, i'm bound to love republicans with all your fault. with the sleigh folders rebellion, hatred of lincoln
among northern copper heads, northerners who sympathize with the confederacy, northern's -- using states rights, state sovereignty arguments, that they had long used to legitimized federal laws and secession, copper heads off and berated lincoln for federal consolidation and for making warp on the confederacy. lincoln came under criticism for suspension of civil liberties during the wartime emergency, including by the chief justice of the supreme court. the historian mark has pointed out, his record here compared favourably with most wartime presidents. in comparison to the confederacy, which executed and tortured slave people, chairman and southern unionist, union army soldiers, and confederate deserters with impunity,
lincoln administration's record was noble. a more legitimate criticism of lincoln stems perhaps from the biggest blocked on his record. in 1862, after the uprising in minnesota, the governor condemned 300 of them to execution. lincoln commuted the sentences of most of them. but let 38 be executed. it constitutes the largest mass hanging in american history. lincoln was reviled by many of his contemporaries, not for his policies toward native americans, but for his adoption of emancipation and then black male citizenship during the war. and here is lincoln as we all know him, with the beard. and this is the picture that i am displaying right now. it shows three principles that guided him. anti slavery versus union, but
also anti-slavery versus the constitution, which lincoln knew as a lawyer. lincoln aligned his commitment to the union and constitution with abolition. for lincoln, abolition, union, and constitution went from being competing to complimentary values. the slave holders rebellion settle this for him. the manner in which lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation as a military order and evoking his war powers, make sure that his constitutional bond fee days would not be challenged. this would not prevent copperheads, or races, not to mention confederates, from accusing lincoln of approving the constitution and the union. it nearly cost him the presidency in the 1864 election. it is not clear whether this
would further divide the nation, rather than have a stay united. lincoln found this the central act of his administration and the greatest act of the 19th century. his battle to secure the 13th amendment was a testament to his determination to embed abolition in the constitution and make it irreversible. lincoln's constitutionalism was a source of not just anti-slavery moderation before the war but it was also the manner in which he promulgated emancipation during it that showed his commitment to the constitution. it shaped his various proposals that compensated gradual emancipation, the form and content of the final emancipation, his advocacy of the 13th amendment and his advocacy of-limited blackmail citizenship.
however, this made anti slavery the dominant principle of politics. and you have a close to abolitionists ground. here is lincoln's signature but also a cartoon made by a pro confederate german cartoonist, not thomas nast, but another german who is pro confederacy. and you can see lincoln with the white face, the cartoon of him as being fired by the devil, and his foot is on the bible. there is an image of nasty on the chair behind him. and so talk about hate. that's one way of portraying an american president. [laughs] so this was an image that was actually circulated in the
confederacy. and found a lot of currency amongst them. lincoln's proclamation had allowed for the army of black man, and they are improvement into the movement army, this held how to convert the civil war that paved the way for black male citizenship. there enlistment of black man and led by appalachian us, reassertion of racial equality, as black soldiers and radical allies fought for equal access to land. even though black soldiers fought in segregated units, the value that lincoln attached to the military service helped move him to the idea of blackmail citizenship. in 1863, he wrote, and this is a photograph, one of the first black regiments during the war. in 1863, lincoln wrote that
blacken soldiers could aspire to the ideal of american citizenship better than secessionists and copperheads. he wrote, quote, there will be some black man who can remember that the steady eye and well-placed bayonet have helped mankind onto the strait consolation. i fear there are white ones unable to forget that the malignant heart and deceitful speech have chauvin to hinder it. so they have a malignant heart. to exercise deceitful speech. lincoln made his nas pronouncement on the subject of black citizenship just before his death. in a letter to louisiana at governor michael han, he suggested that, quote, the
intelligent and those who have fought gallantly, be given the franchise. it would help, quote, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty within the family of freedom. in a speech of reconstruction in louisiana, lincoln argued that he would prefer status to be conferred on the very intelligent and those who have service soldiers. he said the same in an informal speech from the balcony of the white house to a crowd gathered below the day before he was assassinated. he became the first american president to publicly endorse blackmail citizenship. the audience contained his assassin, john wilkie spoof, the confederate sympathizer, who pledged to kill him. that is the last speech he will ever make.
it was really linkage championship of black citizenship that ultimately gets him kills. and he was talking about his vice president. indeed, hatred of president lincoln reach dangerous levels after his adoption of the emancipation and on the eve of his assassination, his pronouncements in favor of blackmail citizenship. during the 1864 presidential election, race baiting reach new heights, with lincoln's opponents calling him abraham africanus and a general agent for the blacks. this is from harpers. i don't know if you can see them. lincoln during the tightrope walk with the constitution, balancing on a beam, and an african american on his head. this is from 1860, the early
election. the cartoons and the race baiting got even worse in 1864, after the emancipation became the official policy of the union army. this is a time when lincoln and the republican party were -- this american racist word, miscegenation, was coined during this election, in an anonymous pamphlet and became part of the american political lexicon, trumpeted out by whites in the south throughout the jim crow era. lincoln said, even as a majority in the north and african americans mourns the loss of a president on friday, many of lincoln's opponents, openly celebrated. if you did a google mat of buildings and streets named
after lincoln, you will find that it is predominantly and overwhelmingly they are north of the mason-dixon line. there are a few in black counties in mississippi. but that is the exception to the rule. it is an irony of american history that one of the most beloved presidents remains, to some people, certainly for neo-confederates, it's most hated. and i apologize to jeff, but i must end with this bumper sticker that has become quite popular the last few years. it's an image of lincoln with this image saying, if my party, and i'll cry if i want to. and so i will hand over the floor back to jeff. >> thank you, manisha, that was wonderful. i enjoy the bumper sticker at the end. i know all of us as historians enjoyed president trump's
reminder that president lincoln was a republican, which he told us many times, most people don't know. but we do, because we are historians. so thank you for that. i'd like to turn now to matthew sutton, who will tell us about fdr, president longer than anyone else. matthew sutton is chair of the history department at washington state university. his latest book is double crossed, missionaries who spied for the united states in the second world war. he's the author of numerous other books, including ones on american populous, a book on jerry falwell, and he is a guggenheim fellow. i happen to know he is working on a new brilliant interpretation for a textbook for american history you should all expect to be purchasing in the next 18 months or so.
so matt, i turn it over to you. >> thank you so much, jeff, and thank you to the panel for putting this together. it's been interesting hearing the first couple of papers. and how this is popped up. because this is a topic i will focus on. as we all know, bludgeon can inspire great behavior and bad behavior. when i will be discussing is how religion can inspire presidential -- this is not a surprise to anybody in this room. we can see how groups of religious activists have hated barack obama, joe biden. i'm going to talk more about the roots of that. we are comes from but also specifically on franklin d. roosevelt. the reason this has not gotten as much attention as it should, is that there has been a real problem with historiography. falwellthere is a sense that whn
jerry falwell came on the scene, and organize the moral majority, that it was than that white evangelicals became critical. that's wrong. this myth has perpetuated itself and continue to spread. that evangelicals were apolitical until the last couple of generations. when i will show you is that how there was a new kind of evangelical activism inspired that fermented itself into real hatred for franklin d. roosevelt. so why did they hate roosevelt? what was the issue. the issue behind this was that they believed that franklin d. roosevelt was ultimately setting the stage for the rise of the anti christ. the diabolical world leader who is going to take power in the end times. they were believed and going to
convinced that we are living at the end of history, and that we are living at the end of history. in their minds, and their churches, they were continuously looking for signs that would tell us how close we were to what they described as the rapture, the rise of the anti christ, the second coming of jesus. and ultimately they came to believe that fdr was preparing the u.s. for those events. there is a debate as to whether he was doing it consciously or explicitly, purposely. if that's what he wanted to do. or if he was just not really aware of geopolitical spiritual events behind the decision. now the less, it was clear to them, that roosevelt was a problem. that liberalism was a problem.
so why? i will talk a bit about what was happening in the 19 twenties and 1930s. i will be careful with my language. i will use evangelical interchangeably -- they call themselves fundamentalists. today they call themselves evangelicals. by the same people, many of them are the same if you trace them. but what they believe, they believe that you could see -- the bible had laid out. we could know when we are living in the rise of the anti christ. some of them are harder to track. the rise of darwinian evolution. suffrage of women. and they worry that prohibition
wasn't being enforced. more interesting to me, they were also closely watching global events. they were excellent students of foreign affairs, better than any other type of americans. they understood what was happening in asia, africa, elsewhere. they had laid out the number of expectations in the 18 eighties and 18 nineties, and you began to see some of these predictions fulfilled, for example in 1930s. one was a new restored roman empire. they believed one of the things that would show the end times was a revitalized roam. for mussolini spreading his power, this was a sign of the and. times they were also conscious of what hitler was doing, conscious of his antisemitism.
some had read mein kampf in german. they believed that another sign of the end times would be the return of the jews to palestine. so they saw hitler facilitating that. they did not endorse it or cheer it. but they knew that god may have gotten hitler too moved and used to palestine. so all of this is going on in the background. they looked at him, and they understood in the context of all the other things going on. there was no doubt that since the campaign in the 1932 election -- on the first set of ballots, roosevelt received 666 votes. when i first heard that in a fundamental fundamentalist magazine, i thought it was too good to be true. i went to the records, and show
enough, that was the case. this already set fundamentalist on edge. that there was something weird going on here. linking roosevelt to the anti christ. after the election, -- roosevelt has become such a revered person in american history, but americans don't realize how much those who hated roosevelt in the 1930s really truly despised him, couldn't stand him. when i saw this and letters written to roosevelt, letters shared. they saw themselves consolidating power in the executive branch. if you add to that, the supreme court, this looks like something who is trying to do what's talent and mussolini and hitler had done.
so when he runs for a third term, you find american traditions have stepping down, which further reinforces -- that roosevelt is not just another american president. but roosevelt is up to something far more sinister. so more broadly they deal with liberalism. there is concern that those who are helping a mare prepare america for the end times. one is the national recovery act, for businesses that participated in the nra. they believe that one of the things that would prepare us for the end times was the showing of the symbol, the mark of the beast. so they thought this was the mark of the beast. possibly the anti christ. or at least preparing americans to understand you will have to show this mark. they the social security,
telling roosevelt, that this was contrary to the word of god. they worried about his international sensibilities. his efforts to join the world court disturb them. anything that threatened americans autonomy and sovereignty, for them, was a stepping stone to some kind of global confederation, which would be led by the anti christ. they opposed roosevelts internationalism in the 1930s and in the 1940s. but they were never indifferent. they never believe that they shouldn't act. so they got very involved in politics. they were very specific about this, because they believe that when jesus returned, he was going to hold him responsible. he was going to ask them if
they had been good and faithful servants. part of being a good faithful servant is waging war against the anti christ, and the tools of the anti christ. people like franklin roosevelt. and so in 1940, 1944, they are very active, mobilizing. they are not partisan, though. many of them are southern conservative democrats. and the north and west many a republican. their goal is to defeat a new deal liberalism. so a more limited government, anti status conservatism. that becomes the political ideology that drives them as american political parties change. evangelicals change with their parties but they maintain core values of being anti government -- anti federal government, anti statist. and also believing in american action abroad.
they want the u.s. acting unilaterally. they are afraid of using multilateral action as a way of compromising sovereignty. world war ii is the turning point. they begin to realize at that point that when jesus does return, he is not going to just judge individuals, but also nations. so with this event there is a new kind of christian nationalism. this increases the focus in world war ii, not just in the anti christ but also in trying to remake the state in their own image, believing that as we move toward the end times and the battle of armageddon that they can protect themselves and protect christians abroad with a strong united states that represents their ideals. as i said, it means that fdr it's a steppingstone that needs
imately passed was watered down so is doing the bare minimum. this was something african-americans washed with great concern while he was a senate majority leader so that when john kennedy selected as his running mate there's an outcry from the african-american delegates to the extent the candidate campaign had to put together a special breakfast in order to try to win over the black delegates that were there to kind of reassure them even though it lyndon johnson had been a they would come along with the platform of the party. and so in that concern was
there, it would go away over the course of time. it was playing a role with the administration, with the head of the opportunity committee. with african american constituents to ensure that the government sectors were as the segregated as possible. only those people who are in the room with johnson or one over. and could see that he was making a concerted effort, meanwhile the populace really didn't know that johnson was making these efforts. so over the course of the administration, the concern that black voters had never went away, so that by 1963, justice john cannily is making the case for why a new civil rights bill had to be passed. that doesn't happen until june
of 1963. and john kennedy finally makes a public plea, based on the morality of the civil rights movement, that there should actually be a civil rights bill passed. even at that point, lyndon johnson is seen as behind the scenes, i still that same individual who has been on authority on civil rights legislation. so that by november of 1963, when kennedy is assassinated, adams is incredibly concerned about johnson's emergence as the nation's new president. in fact there are many black reporters and observers and leather riders indignant that -- many of them believe that john
year -- from the moment he is sworn in as president. looking to build coalitions and reassure liberals and the southern christian leadership conference is called, but beyond that the urban league -- on civil rights. so he's trying to turn the page and trying to win over black constituents from the beginning. but there is this nagging concern him.
and this is something that is already happening in canada's administration. the movement itself is changing quite a bit, whereas, you know, there is a belief in august of 1963, a nonviolent movement led by dr. king can actually make the changes laws are being called for that those laws are not going to make real change in peoples lives. and the passage of the civil rights act does happen.
and so there's a whole host of reasons why this is the case. this will continue to play out as a problem for lyndon johnson. certainly you have the shifting nature of the civil rights movement or the legislative victories are not deemed quite as poor important in some ways when faced with things on the ground. but also you have the vietnam war, that is forcing more and more african-american, men into war. even though african americans about 11% of the population, they are being drafted at a higher percent. and they are being pushed into combat roles at a much higher% overall percentage of those folks in the war effort. so the war effort is taking a toll, not only in the fact the young black soldiers are
heading over there, also the fact the war on poverty that lyndon johnson believes is going to change everything these kind of social programs kind of in the vein of fdr social program, and so you begin to see that the promise of the great society program isn't funded in the way that benefits a lot of african americans. and there are a couple on cellmate to saigon. but also the last point is that it doesn't play out for johnson
like the way that you want to, her dealing with the kind of war on poverty and consequences -- but also, the policing reform. the way that the federal government is dealing with funding in a local policing of behavior. it leads to some of the issues of policing. also, mass incarceration of african americans.
a war on poverty and they view a lot of the vaccination is being lyndon johnson's door. but like the vietnam war's impact on the community. the policing in that overtime johnson's legacy as really problematic to the extent that at the end since lyndon johnson opened up his presidency. and the 80% approval rating by the time he is running the
nixon's focus on the president of foreign policy. has prioritization the extent of concern of democracy. the extent of which a foreign nation observes interest. the nature of the government for their own people amid this. hardheaded notions from notions of democracy. this kind of thing is one of many reasons why nixon has been the focus over the years.
well, at the heart of this judgment there is a legality in the water daybreak in. richard nixon is a long political career. advising it for this line of criticism. it is an revealed on the tape recording at the nixon white house. there is perhaps hatred. there is nixon who is a distinctly paranoid but he seems to have embodied.
it is also powerful over the years and the international reena at an anonymous human cost and 1969 it was often pointed out an entirely new theater on a scale that the world has not seen. meanwhile, nixon through american support behind the with authoritarian. on and on, we are left to go. many commentators have brutality, it turned away from democracy. providing it is only a major
region it is said in part for too many years. principles and tactics of our adversary. the intellectual and moral property of u.s. policies. availing this tendency about carter calls the embrace of any dictator who joins us this year. this kind of criticism in the early 24 centuries prohibited. kissinger, who proposed no less
for the decision-making. with these expressions of hostility, in the sense that seeking stability in the third world nixon especially the low regard for democracy. and the cynicism, it lays at the heart of the style. it is on both left and right. the criticism on the left is easy to see. but in the foreign policy realm, it lays in the public circle as well as 1976. and overtime, they would move further and further away. a real-ism embrace of
moralizing the quality associated with ronald reagan. but for part of this, it is the sense that nixon gave moral isn't -- by american political tradition out by but carter might've put it in during american value. the unfortunate outcome, as i think many moderate analysts of this presidency might say, this throws into disrepute, any reason of national limit and limit that might have served the united states well at any point across history, but especially during 1945. the real tragedy around nixon maybe the sheer difficulty ever since i've resurrecting fundamentally sound policy ideas that sat at the floor of nixon's presidency. so impressive have those ideas
become in the reputation of the president. i will stop there and turn it back over to you. >> thank you mark. always fascinating. we don't have as much time for discussion as we want, so i'm going to start out with a semi speed around. a last question so the group. feel free to answer if you think it is pertinent to your president. after that, i have some questions, why will ask each of you to comment. this first section is volunteer. one question. attacks were published -- do you have any idea how -- i want to expand that a little. the question of, to professor freeman. but it speaks to the question of mass media. and the ways in which that
broad assessment of character is developed within the political electorate. so for all of us, and especially -- how does the media, how does the public image of the president that alters people and their sense of -- [inaudible] >> i will say a couple of things. one thing about this early period, there is a concern in the early period, on a basic level. and that is public opinion governing the republic. but what does that mean? who is the public? what do they think? how do you figure out what they think? so there was kind of a hyper awareness in this period as to what the public was thinking. and also what hyper awareness as to who that public was.
so people like jefferson would have been very aware of what's being said. and at some point, i think someone asked the question, whether he was criticized for his sexual life. and they were cartoons about his relationship for example. so the public was aware of things being said. presidents and politicians were aware that this mattered. but that wasn't the meeting point as to what that meant. so for that reason, i think those early presidents were hyper-alert to it. what's interesting, is what is listening to whatever one else is saying, people understand a pragmatic real-ism that the public, in what they think, has a dramatic impact. >> colleagues.
would you jump in on the media question informing presidential hatred? >> they were crafting their own media, so they were pioneers in radio. they develop their own magazines. and they had specific networks among different denominations. some of it was pretty esoteric, there was also cartoons. so they really ran the whole sector. >> [inaudible] >> by the nineties, i would say, this is informed by a large swath of the public. and this is not just white male citizens. and a few african americans who had the right to vote in the north. but it is worksites, newspapers,
it is enormous. more than we would imagine today. a production of political cartoons and even racist ones. and they have their own culture. it's pretty vigorous. and so there is a mass consumption of these. and by the nineties, you have these voting rates, 80% of those who are eligible to vote, man, they vote at that time. and politics is mass entertainment. think about these iconic destructions of the lincoln debates. people are coming in. and people who are professors of rhetoric and speech, pay far more attention to speeches from that time. members of congress will send
out thousands of letters to their constituents. so speech has evolved in a sense that, not until they really do, we social media, but it is far more than we see. >> i'd like to add to that, with lyndon johnson, everyone knows how aware johnson was, the role he played, and i had televisions everywhere and he was constantly commenting on what was written about him. and also the issues that he was dealing with. all of that is playing out on television. and when you have protesters outside the white house screaming, hey, hey, lbj, how many boys did you kill today. that makes a major difference. so i think for johnson in particular, that kind of give
and take in how the media is influencing and impacting him, and also trying to control that message, it's something that continues to resonate. on nixon -- >> i would add that there is a hyper attentiveness to media, like lbj. and yet i think one could also say that again, there may be a fellow with a lbj here, there is a mishandling of media that ultimately we doubled their problems. and it's important think about these characters, in their early political careers, in the context of very different relationships with the media. and the middle parts of the 20th century, technologies, the vietnam war, lots of other reasons for the relationship
that changes. these guys weren't very successful at adapting. >> again, jump in a few like. i'm going to abuse a question that was offered by -- and transform a bit to ask if any president, and certainly those on our list, have received a lot of hatred from within their own party. clearly we are seeing today, there is a split in the republican party. and are there other historical precedence not just without about within? >> quickly, on the emphasis, there were northern republicans, that were not really thrilled about the embargo. but i wouldn't say --
there were sort of politely internally -- and i think precisely because parties were not the norm in that period. there was no assumption about what was holding people together. probably for that reason, it wasn't as -- weren't is clear. so people were a little uneasy about that within a group of people being held together informally. >> as far as lincoln is concerned, he had the ability within his party -- the issue of emancipation. by the interesting way now, their relationship with him was pretty constructive. they saw him as part of an anti state alliance.
there is official hatred of lincoln and some conservative starts backing off a little bit when i realized that lincoln was going to move ahead with emancipation. and there was recognition of black rights. so that was critical, and in 1864, there is a run force of abolitionists who floated the idea of replacing lincoln. but that went nowhere. because ardent abolitionist were so pro lincoln that in the end, all the abolitionist fell in line. the great black abolitionist said, lincoln is the only american president who has given any recognition to african americans and has met with them in the white house and has listened to us. so the idea of replacing him
seems foolhardy. in the end, even those radicals who were critical of lincoln and ended up the notion that we are part of this grand anti slavery alliance, in which we are the vanguard and are going to drag lincoln with us. >> fundamentalist, many of them were militant, but there was a real discussion among the southern fundamentalists, about instructing their congregants, to vote in elections but not in the national elections. they can still be a good democrat like their father and not for fdr. there was an effort to break the alliance from the national party. >> like lincoln, i think johnson was certainly getting pushed from the left, from those who felt he wasn't acting quickly enough or responding
soon enough to things that were happening. but he was catching it from the left, for sure, the progressives but also from the right. and this is largely [inaudible] because he is losing support on both ends. >> mark, on nixon? >> as i mentioned, quickly, in my -- he would certainly criticize from his own party. you can see that. in the watergate crisis that developed. but you can also see it in the broader sense. and a different brand of republicans that in many ways is quite critical of foreign policy. i think it's a fairly broad
critique of a relatively moderate way outside of politics. by reagan. i wouldn't call it hatred, i think i would call it something more like indifference. but there certainly were individuals characterizes having hated goldwater, for instance, some of the most colorful language that anyone has given us. >> let me offer, if i may, a bonus president. bill clinton. bolton was despised by his enemies. so once he was impeached, i wouldn't go so far as to say they hated clinton for what he did. but they certainly were disgusted by it. and not unlike a recent impeachment, where the vote
secret, and where the vote less prescriptive my party, i think we would have a much different vote in the end. this is our speed around, if you will. we don't have a lot of time. here is a question i will we formulate from david meng. was it his style of governing or the policies that he espouse that johnson could be so hated? we will go in reverse chronological order. so nixon. >> interesting question. i'm going to say mostly it's a person but it's always been under emphasized as a reason for [inaudible] >> i think it's a combination of both, for example if you
look at something like the turner commission, where johnson commissions i look into the weeds in's for some of the riots that happened in american cities, with the best of intentions, it ultimately ignores the findings, the policy seems to do this and ultimately the personality gets in the way. , >>! who that staff in india.
it was one of the masses. taking the opportunity to address this. the criticism of them was really racist and for radicals. when it comes to policy, lincoln very much identified it with the political government. but they called several consolidation in those days. the federal government intervening. they can't extend slavery. this connection between all of this a take space, it gets resurrected when it comes to
johnson and nixon. >> i would offer a third option has policies, putting himself forward. i was democratic policies. >> well i want to thank our panelists for joining us roundtable. obviously, we would rather do this in person and we look forward to doing them again. it has been a wonderful conversation. my thanks as well for doing these virtual webinars over the last several months of the year. it has been a real joy for all of us. with debbie.
>> i want to thank our generous sponsors, the history channel and oxford university prep. thank you to everyone who submit questions today. special thanks to our panelist, have a great afternoon thank you. >> hosted by the u.s. capitol bestselling author with it founding father in having today society. >> the founders were gifted but they were -- they succeeded triumphantly in many ways. against the dominant willpower at the moment.
>> c-span.org slash history. our weekly series, the presidency highlights the politics, policies and legacies of u.s. presidents. during the presidency of bill clinton and george w. bush, and the author of inside camp david. the private world of the president. >> welcome to another episode of white house revived. i'm a senior vice president at the white house historical association and the science center for