tv In Depth Allen Guelzo CSPAN January 9, 2022 12:00am-2:01am EST
>> guest: he was best known for two things, son of a famous revolutionary war hero and that was the famed cavalry commander light horse harry lee, the one who served under washington and in fact, coined washington, first in war, first in peace, that was light horse harry. the other thing that people would have known robert e lee for would have been his service in the mexican war and especially on the staff of general scott during scott's fabulous invasion. moving in land to mexico city in 1847. lee served in many respects as scott's eyes and ears performing over and over again feats for scott so much so that scott made the confession that for all the honors he had won in that great
campaign to mexico city almost all the credit really belonged to robert e lee, so lee's two thing would have been robert e lee would have been noted before the civil war which taken together don't really do a whole lot to explain to us what we know about robert e lee once the civil war begins. >> host: we will get into that in just a minute. light horse lee wasn't necessarily a good father, is that correct? >> guest: he was splendid cavalry commander, carrying out raids during -- during all kinds of small jobs. he was really good at that. but as soon as the revolution was over and he moved back into the civilian life, everything went from bad to worse. he made investments in western
virginia land that were the equivalent of buying ski resorts in bangladesh and all went to nothing. and lee was a federalist and in 1813 he was beaten by a projeffersonnian mob in baltimore and taking those things together, and so he left and went to the west indies. he left when his son was 6-year-olds and robert never saw him again and i think that's actually a major and traumatic moment in the life of robert e lee and that stays with him for the rest of his days.
>> host: the other thing i wanted to mention from your first answer is you write in robert e lee in life that lee discovered a sense of shame at having been part of the mexican american war. >> guest: yes. for many americans who were part of the mexican war especially from veracruz to mexican city who reflected back on it and remember mexico is a land of surpassing and chanting beauty, something -- some place that they always wanted to revisit and alongside it was a sense of embarrassment that this war had taken place at all. for one thing, in the 19th centuries republicans were not
supposed to make wars on republics, republics on some sense. they might fight them but defensively against aggressive imperial ventures from tsars and kings and what not but the idea of the american republic going to war with the mexican republic was a source of disconnect for many of the young americans and the longer they served in this war, the more that disconnect weighed on them and robert e lee would finally come to the conclusion. i am shamed of this war. we picked up on mexico. we deliberately took advantage and you can find curiously enough in ulysses grant in time,
had a similar experience in service in mexico and that was the sense that the united states had done the wrong thing in invading mexico. that was a larger, stronger power beating up on a smaller weaker one which should have been a sister republic encouraging instead of making the object of war. >> he served under windfield scott under that war. >> by the time the civil war breaks out, scott is too over to take control, he was the general and chief of the united states army at that point but he's really in no shape at his stage to have taken active direction of the war. he sketched out a large scale strategic plan, sometimes known as the anaconda plan on how the war should be conducted but he understood, he was past the time
when he could take active participation in the field to that end, the person that he wanted to recommend and the army that is would suppress the succession. that was robert e lee. scott never forgot the service that robert e lee had got during mexican war and the years between that war and the civil war, scott develops something of a surrogate father figure to robert lee. he assists in promoting members of the lee family, one of lee's sons really gets a commission in the u.s. army largely because winfield scott arranges it. he had a close relationship this way but nothing, nothing more cruelly disappointed for scott than when lee came to visit him in april of 1861 to tell him
that he was going to turn down the offer of command and that he would resign his commission in the united states army. it was said that winfield scott took to his sofa weeping saying, i never want to hear the name of robert e lee again, well, that probably is somewhat but does give you a sense first of all the relationship between the two but secondly the disappointment that scott experienced when lee decided in fact, not to take up the command but in other circumstances scott might have want today exercise himself. >> erin, was robert e lee well known in the general public prior to the civil war, was he in the society pages because of his wife. was there a role back and forth in the press regarding his going to the confederates?
>> to a minor degree. robert e lee was not someone who enjoyed the public limelight. he did his level best to stay out of the newspapers, to stay out of the columns of people writing social matters. he himself will only venture into public view very, very reluctantly. he simply dislikes it. it's something that he has no taste for. and people often remark about lee that he struck as a very aloof, very distant sort of figure. there's a famous passage in the diary of mary chestnut, dairies in the civil era, she met me before the civil war in western virginia. she met me there because that's
where lee took his wife. mary was plagued by arthritis and without introduction she said, the man on a beautiful horse came to join us. he looks so distinguished, i was sorry i didn't catch his name and then she found out afterwards. well, this was robert e lee and she said, everything about him was so finely, perfection, no fault to be found in the man and this wasn't because chestnut necessarily admired that. she actually liked lee's older brother smith lee a lot better because smith lee, he was very companionable, very fine man about town so not robert.
chestnut said can anybody say they know his brother. he looks so cold and that was the image that robert lee chose to cultivate through his wife. he did not like being in that public and for that reason, any discussion that takes place about the possibility as robert e lee's choice tends to occur only in his immediate environment in alexandria and a few other places. it's not a matter of national discussion or national attention and likely because robert e lee doesn't want national attention of himself. >> well, back in march, you were quoted in the princeton quarter i will saying, quote, if we wish to imperil the american experiment, we can find few more sinister paths to that peril than by forgetting, obscuring or
demeaning who we were. i bring this up now with all the memorial to robert e lee being removed and the confederate memorials taken down, is that a mistake in your view? >> well, there's no easy answer for that and i have to confess from my own part that i'm at 6's and 7's of the question of statutes of robert e lee. i've seen statutes not only lee but many other people taken down. frankly i cannot fathom why you put up to statutes to people who
committed treason. we do not have statutes to general howe or corn wallace. we don't have them there. in 1776 we tore down a statute of george the third in manhattan. sense that i can't measure why we do that. people like robert e. lee raised the hand against the nation, they sworn an oath to uphold. my father was a career united states army officer. he took that oath. my son is an officer in the u.s. army and he took that oath. even when i joined the national council for the humanities back in 2006, i took the oath, so it's not something that i'm saying lightly. and by the fact that when lee does make his decision to fight
for confederacy that's around human slavery and human trafficking. why -- on the one hand, why should i feel anything except a sense of sympathy for the removal of relics like that that shouldn't be in any other place than a museum. i would tell them as politely as i could to get lost. but with that really hasn't been the whole story, has it, because what we have been talking about and not just statutes of robert e. lee but wholesale toppling, defacing statutes across the country and statutes of frederick douglas and statutes of abraham lincoln here in my own hometown of philadelphia
someone actually defaced a statute of a prominent abolitionist figure. what they felt they were doing, i don't know. so much of it seemed to be an act of irrational impulse and i see the removal or toppling this way i get to see removal by irrational impulse, that's when we are doing something little less considerate and less logical than we think we are doing. back in 2017, riot circled around in charlottesville and i
sat down with rudy, officer, we worked up what we call a decision because how do you deal with monuments and statutes? and there are moments, on the one hand, you simply can't say it because the statute is there- in 2003 when american forces arrived in baghdad, one of the first things that happens is tearing down the enormous statute of saddam hussein. i think we are better planet without them but how do you
arrive at decisions for people who are represented by statutes who haven't been around for 150 years or 250 years and more of a process of statute toppling or removal which basically said let's ask a series of questions, let's ask a series of 5 questions and if anybody answered the first question, they only answered the second and third and so forth and there's no guaranty in this decision and it's not attended to produce a certain result. what it is intended to produce is we have fought through this. we have looked at this logically. we have come to this conclusion as a result of a process and not just an impulse and if at the
end of the process, yes, this statute should be removed, fine, at least we have done it with a process and the thing that endangers understanding of history and when we respond truly to these memorials and these monuments. surely of irrational impulsiveness, that i think, can change the world because it's not difference between the irrational impulse and the behavior of the mob. and the behavior of the mob is what democracies and democratic societies strive to put distance between and necessarily so. so i would rather air on the side of caution this way or at least on the side of process and the result of process may be, removing statures but we have
gone through a process and i think a process is what was important. >> the first line in your book about robert e. lee, how do you write a biography of someone who commits treason, how do you guard against your own bias? >> because i ask first of all, what does the constitution say about treason? how does the constitution define it? on the one happened, it's pretty straightforward. the constitution says that treason consists of making war against the united states and giving aid and comfort to its enemies and i had some difficulty in looking at robert e. lee and not seeing someone who did these things. made war with the united states and certainly gave aid and comfort to its enemies and simply on those terms alone i cannot avoid the conclusion, yes, robert e. lee committed treason.
some people would say you're saying that because you're a yankee. >> no, i'm saying that because i'm reading the constitution for what it actually says and i cannot avoid that conclusion so i say this at the very beginning because i want people to understand that i am not coming to write a biography of robert e. lee either to put a knife around his back and i want to come to robert e. lee as soberly as i can and the first question is treason and in some respects that poses the real challenge of writing this kind of biography not just about lee because how do you write the biography of someone who commits treason? in some sense it's easy to write the biography of someone that you can easily admire, a washington, a lincoln, a
churchill but how do you deal with people whose lives are committed to things that you find reprehensible and yet you cannot write about them and you can't simply pretend that they are not there and how do you undertake the writing of what i call difficult biography. that's really what i set task out to do in writing of robert e. lee and difficult biography calls for a different set of understandings at a different set of analytical tools than you might have in writing about lincoln about whom i'm written a great deal but you have to write and you have to come to writing about lee, a different set of understandings because his life is very different. >> allen, author of 12 books. dr. auelzo, was there an outcry
from the public to jail robert e. lee? >> oh, yes. oh yes, yes, yes. and especially after the assassination of abraham lincoln. a few days that transpired to lee surrender of the army in northern virginia and lincoln's murder, there was a sense that, oh, the war is now coming down to its conclusion. it can be open handed and then comes the lincoln assassination and it's like saying, so this is what we get for being open handed, this is what we get for being generous. well, we will deal with these people with the way they are asking us to deal with them and there was a terrific backlash against the confederate leadership, against jefferson davis or at that point he would not be apprehended until may tenth. but a lot particularly directed
at lea and the calls go up for something to be done about robert e. lee and especially it takes the form of an indictment for treason by the federal district court in norfolk, virginia. no norfolk, virginia by the way because it's largely the few places in virginia where there's a federal court operating at that point. the war had just concluded and so this -- this indictment comes from the federal court in norfolk and lee along with some 33, 34 other confederate leaders is indicted by federal court for treason and the assumption that this is going to proceed to some trial and where the problems begin to accrue. looked at initially just in
terms of the constitution's definition of treason, then we should have gone to a trial but there were some interesting trip wires in the way. one of them was the fact that ulysses grant granted to lee and entire army of virginia a parole. now a parole, what did this mean? it meant that -- this is literally how it's put, none of those who surrendered are going to be molested by the federal government provided they go to the homes and obey the laws peacefully. it's not entirely a get out of jail free card because if you violate all the restrains are office but the parole had been given by grant and when grant gets wind of the fact that the new president andrew johnson and
attorney general james are trading with the idea of pursuing robert e. lee for treason, grant feels that his own word, his own pledge, his own honor is being called in question and he quite frankly tells andrew johnson that if you persist in this i will resign as general of the army. well, that's a threat that andrew johnson could not accommodate. he had to back down in the face of that because no one stood higher in the estimate of the north at that moment than grant, so that was one problem which heads off the idea of the trial. another fact that all through the war a lot of questions about dealing with civil liberties had been handled by military tribunals, does this sound familiar, sounds like guantanamo, well, it should, same logic governs those cases
as governed a lot of those at the end of the civil war. the two justice of the supreme court could not abide the idea that there was a parallel jurisdiction to a federal civilian jurisdiction in terms of the federal courts. the idea that the military tribunal is operating in virginia and he would refuse to participate in any federal trial of robert e. lee while there was still military tribunals operating in virginia and since they were operating they chose to cooperate with the trial. there's another road block in the path of putting on trial and there are a -- in fact, a number of other legal snags this way which i won't take everybody into the weeds with unless you're a lawyer and want to go with me, but at the end the conclusion was this is really not going to be worth the
political trouble that is going to generate. so what we will do is we will just enter, do not prosecute, and in fact, in 1868 as andrew johnson is on his way out of the white house, he issues a blanket amnesty that finally dispels the threat of a treason trial for lee, but it was a real question and lee treats it seriously. lee is very interest that trial goes forward, he could be in serious danger and it's not until the amnesty comes down that lee begins to feel that the cloud in large measure past over his head but he takes it seriously and it worries him and he will make comments like, well, a lot of my old friends
the interview only lasted around 15 minutes and it's very polite. i don't want to quite say frosty but certainly not well met. and louis reputation and support of those initiatives and reconstruction but lee showed no enthusiasm for that. in fact, when people would press lee in 1870 for his opinion who is the greatest opinion general was during the war, lee's response is not grant, lee's response is george mccallough.
the new york journalist john russell young accompanying him. who do you think was the greatest of the confederate generals and response was johnson which was more surprising and you had sense that grant was doing a tit for tat, you're going to disrespect me, fine, i will disrespect you. what could have been an interesting relationship between the two former opponents never, never ever develops in that way and if anything in 1868 and 1869 lee actually will lend his influence more to people who are challenging ulyssess grant politically than otherwise.
>> well, we could spend the entire two hours talking about robert e. lee and his life and all that go into that but we want to talk about some of your other books and prior to your robert e. lee a life, your previous book was reconstruction, concise history that came out in 2018. from that book, quote, even the strongest measures taken by the u.s. government during both the war and reconstruction were deployed less with the view towards subjectating the states to authority and more toward nudging them back toward a federal government. the great lasers in this process were southern blacks. >> i haven't seen anything to change that and what we really
hoped a little too optimistically more than a little optimistically is that the world would teach lessons and political minds and the eradication of slavery would open up the possibility not only for reunification of one nation and a weak constitution of the south itself in the image to have north and in large measure because, a, we didn't know about how to doing the reconstruction and there was no book that you could go in the bookstore entitled reconstruction for dummies that would give you a step by step process on how to do this thing called reconstruction and what you see instead is really a series of
improvisations not all of them terribly thought out and some inspired by hope and a lot of them inspired on the part of congress. so that's the first thing that you see coming out of reconstruction. we did not neglect what we were doing. we were fumbled. the second thing that emerges from this is that in the fumbling, this is b, it gives an opportunity for the old leadership to once again seize political dominance life in the south and as they do that, they own to subjectate so the state status that they enjoyed before the civil war to reconstitute the form of slavery without actually using the term.
this kind of reconstitution southerners and southern states to jim crow, to segregation, to violent rioting and i think especially of the 1891 1898 wilmington, north carolina riots of black people in the south and we could all look back and say, why didn't we take reconstruction more seriously? grant looked back center from his time after the presidency, grant looked back and said, the great mistake of reconstruction that we did not impose a military occupation and imposed a military occupation that would last for sufficiently long time to raise up and educate and too
fast and optimistic and in a lot of cases we didn't want to spend time and money. military occupation of the south, even at the height of we construction, the united states military forces that were used on construction duties on the south never really amount today 20,000 troops. 20,000 troops. we deployed 3 million union soldiers during the civil war and task of reconstruction, 20,000 and then even that number diminishes over time. we would have done something much more serious, something along the lines of world war ii with the marshal plan in europe with the occupation of imperial japan. we basically reconstructed associates from the bottom up in a democratic image. we did not do that in 1865 to
1877. and i think as a country you paid and continue to pay a serious, serious price for that. we learned our lesson in 1945 and yet subsequent efforts at reconstructions have not shown that the learning of that was entirely permanent. now we still suffer from wanting to take military actions or diplomatic actions and have them produce a quick response and then we wash our hands and walk away from them. perhaps we should have thought before we got involved in some of these things that what was going to be required was something much more intensive, much more expensive and requiring a great deal more from our society than we have been
willing to give. that is something that we have to bear in mind. the problem posed by reconstruction offers us an interesting lesson in what is sometimes called nation building and in reconstruction we did a pretty poor job of it and many, many people especially black people suffered as a result. >> allen guezo, how broken was it? >> in the case of georgia, although the destruction in georgia by general sherman and his army has been pretty grossly exaggerated. people who either read sherman's memoirs or gone with the wind
get this motion that somehow williams succumbs to sherman and everything that stood in the state of georgia, that's not really the case. but places which did pay a high penalty if the armies were tracing back and forth across them and one place certainly was virginia. the south loses by the capital in slavery and farm animals. probably the south's losses mounted to as high as in some estimates that i've seen $13 billion. that's $1,865. -- that's 1865 dollars and trying to create the slave
system in a sense that the great punishment, the south suffers in reconstruction is not union occupation, union occupation by contrast was minimal. the real punishment the south suffers in reconstruction is self-administered. the south decides what it really wants is to walk away from industrial, 19th century transatlantic economy and to return to what it had been before the war which was a state and that will take another 80 years in the life of the south to change, so in a sense, the south became its own worst enemy in reconstruction. >> host: allen guelzo, you mentioned were you born in
yokahama, japan to army officer and then master's and then history aspect, at what point in your life were -- do you find yourself fascinated by this era? >> oh. [laughter] >> i think i was always fascinated by it or at least fascinated as one can be and be conscious. i can remember when i was probably not more than 5 year's old badgering my mother to buy a comic book version of the red badge of courage in the old classic illustrator series and, of course, introduces to a story about the civil war and that particular comic book happened a 16-page insert as a quick comic book history of the civil war and i say comic book, we are thinking of superman and all kinds of silly stuff, the
classic illustrator series was a serious piece of work and this badge of courage was a serious piece of work and it fascinated me. it sent me to my grandmother who as a young girl at the turn to have last century and schools in philadelphia had written on decoration day which is what they call memorial day then and written old veterans of the grand army of the republic, old union veterans, little blue jackets and blue caps and they would come to the schools like my grandmother's school, the george clymer school and they would talk to the children about the real meaning of the civil war and for them the real meaning of a civil war was not what those johnny reds are trying to teach you. it was about the end of slavery, it was about the preservation of new england and that was the understanding of the war that you might say i got at my
grandmother's knee and that i grew up with. so in my case, i never grew up with robert e. lee having an ara around his head. many other writers of lee wrote as southerners i think particularly here, they wrote about lee as promoting the myth of the lost cause and i grew up understanding the lost cause and the real story of the civil war really belonged to lincoln and emancipation and the preservation of the union but i acquired early on and it has stayed with me and, well, as you can see i'm still talking about it. >> and we will show our viewers some of your lincoln books here in just a minute but wanted to welcome you to our in-depth program for january, allen guelzo, historian, civil war historian is our guest.
we want to hear from you as well. you have a chance to talk to him, make questions, ask questions, here is how you do so, numbers 748, 8200 in east and central time zones, 748-8201 in mountain and pacific time zones and you can send a text this number, text messages onlies, (202)748-8903. please include first name and your city if you would if you do send a text question. and you can also contact us via social media. just remember@booktv is our handle for twitter, facebook, et cetera. you can start making comments, start dialing in. we will get to your calls for allen guelzo in just a few minutes. his first book came out in 1989, theological debate for the union
of evangelical christiandome came out in 1984, abraham lincoln redeemer president and lincoln emancipation proclamation and abraham lincoln, man of ideas, 2009, lincoln a short introduction, 2009 as well. then a look at the civil war and reconstruction in fateful lighting followed by gettysburg, the last invasion is how allen guelzo looks at the book in 2013, are redeeming the great emancipator in 2016, reconstruction of concise history came out in 2018 and his most recent from a different point of view robert e. lee, a life. if we could allen guelzo, let's go to the year of 1863 which kicked off with the emancipation
proclamation very tumultuous year in the nation's history but i want to quote from your book redeeming the great emancipator, quote, the emancipation proclamation which was delivered on january 1st, 1863 is surely the unhappiest of all of abraham lincoln's great presidential papers. that was the one that jumped out to me. [laughter] >> that was a deliberate and provocative strategy on my part. and i say unhappiest basically because while we learned the gettysburg, people memorize the gettysburg address which is 272 words and we add ore the second inaugural especially the
eloquent conclusion, charity for all, who can disagree with the beauty of that. then we come to emancipation proclamation, the first word of the emancipation proclamation just puts us off because the first word is whereas. whoever thought of beginning a great document, a great state document with the word whereas because it sounds so legalistic, well, yeah, it is legalistic. in fact, that is one of the problems that people have with the emancipation proclamation that it is -- the language of it is -- is very legal and no one less than carl marks made the observation that the emancipation proclamation reads like a summons sent by one
county courthouse lawyer to another and, indeed, it is that way. it is very technical. it is very legal in its atmosphere and people look at this and scratch their heads and say why. here is the man capable of writing the gettysburg address and perhaps the greatest deed of his administration maybe the single greatest deed of any american president, suddenly dropped back into professional legal listening and then led a number of people to draw the conclusion because he didn't really mean it. his heart really wasn't in it. if his heart had been in emancipation, he could have produced something equally eloquent as the gettysburg address or the second inaugural. and this is what led in 1948 to make memorial comment, probably
the comment most and what was the absence of eloquence and another reason that people are unhappy with the emancipation prochannellation that it's dated january 1st, 1863. why department as soon as the civil war begin. why didn't lincoln pick up his pen and write an emancipation proclamation in 1861. what is he waiting for? nothing happens. suddenly 1863, he decides he's going to issue to emancipation
proclamation. he was trying to evoke more response from the north in support of the war. the emancipation proclamation isn't really a noble gesture at all, it's a work of political strategy. and then the others critique the proclamation because they don't believe he goes far enough. reservations and exclusions, the proclamation will free slaves in the states and then lincoln goes onto explain, border states, missouri, delaware, kentucky and also won't touch slaves in
places in virginia that are occupied by military -- union military forces or in louisiana occupied by military force. these are exceptions. what's going on here? is he going to free the slaves, just free the slaves but instead you get this bill of exceptions. again, people scratch their heads and say, this can't be for real. this can't represent this kindness moral gesture on the part of abraham lincoln and this is a criticism of that sort, have multiplied over the years to a point where, yes, this is why i say that lincoln's emancipation proclamation is unhappiest document because so many people scratched their heads and can't figure out what's going on and in many cases draw the worst possible conclusion. well, let me dispel some of that as quickly as i can. first of all, yes, the emancipation proclamation is
legalistic. legalistic in ways the gettysburg address is not, you know why? because the gettysburg address is simply the dedication remarks that lincoln composed for dedicating a cemetery at gettysburg. you can't take the gettysburg address and do anything with it. the state trooper pulls you over on the turnpike for exceeding the speed limit, you cannot quote the gettysburg address to him. this emancipation proclamation is different. changes the legal status of approximately 3 million human beings and it sounds legalistic because it has legal work to do. this is a document that can be taken to court and had effect. so, yes, is it legalistic, very legalistic, why, it has legal heavy lifting to do. why and this is connected to it, why then at the same time is the
emancipation proclamation full of exceptions? well, largely because lincoln issues emancipation proclamation and says right at the beginning of the proclamation, on the strength of role as commander in chief of the armed forces of the united states. in other words, he's exercising his war powers. you can't exercise war powers against the border states which were loyal to the union. they were not at war with the united states. they had remained within the union. they were states, four states that still legalized slavery but they were not at war with the union. his war powers did not extend there. if lincoln had attempt today emancipate slaves say in kentucky or maryland on the strength of the emancipation proclaimation, you can be sure that at 9:00 o'clock the next morning, slave owners would have been besieging federal courthouses demanding
injunctions which they would have done, those injunctions would have gone to appeals and appeals would have eventually wound up with the united states supreme court and who is the chief justice of the united states supreme court at the moment, robert brook, the author of the scott decision. he would have made emancipation proclamation as lincoln's war powers. lincoln could not afford that happen, he could not afford that kind of challenge going into the federal court system. those british states and occupied areas of virginia and louisiana. what is he trying to do? is he trying to cheat on emancipation? no, he's trying to protect emancipation from a legal challenge that it's not difficult to imagine emerging from chief justice so, yes, the
emancipation proclamation has this reputation, this unhappy reputation but there are serious reasons why it is what it is and when you understand the reasons you begin to understand that abraham lincoln's thinking in composing the emancipation proclamation, the substantially more shrewd than he's given credit for just at first reading. is the emancipation proclamation bill of waiting, it's a bill of cargo of freedom headed toward the port of emancipation. >> host: well, we will come back to the year of 1863 but our phone lines are lit up and we want to hear from our viewers as well allen guelzo. let's begin with jonathan out in los angeles, jonathan, good morning.
>> caller: governor, professor guelzo, his books are fascinating and just tells you that rams will play baltimore in ten minutes and we are watching professor 11:00 o'clock our time. i wanted to ask him one review of his book said that he had written a revisionist history and i'm curious to have him explain what is really meant by revisionist history and in some sense every time a historian writes something, it's revisionist and i would love to hear his thoughts on that, thank you so much for the program. >> jonathan, do you remember what book that was, was it lighting, a new history of the civil war? >> caller: no, review of dr. guelzo's book on general
lee. >> host: thank you, sir. >> guest: well, i think in a sense jonathan has already provided the answer that i most likely to give and that is every time a historian sits down and writes history you are doing revision. no historian simply duplicates what has been said before. every historian comes with new ways of looking at things, new questions that you ask. in my case, for instance, when i'm coming at robert e. lee, i am -- i am interested obviously in lee as the great general of the civil war, the great commander of the confederate armies in virginia. one could not be interested in the civil war and not pay some attention to that. and yet i will be the first to admit that that is not what draws me to lee. what draws me to lee is a variety of other considerations. for instance, robert e. lee was
for years, almost 30 years of his career an army engineer. he was an officer in the corps of engineers and much of his career in the army was devoted to engineering projects. his first project out of west point was to lay the foundations for what is today savannah and he was at the very beginning of that. he was assigned from there to the construction of what was originally known as fort calhoun in the main ship channel of hampton roads and from there he was assigned to st. louis, he was 4 years at st. louis building the water front and from there he goes to fort hamilton in new york and there he's the chief engineer at that post on the tip of long island
where today bridge crosses over to long island. then from there he goes to the mexican war and then after the mexican war it's back to construction. he's building fort powell in belmar harbor. he spends a lot of his life as an engineer. i had to give crash course in engineering in order to begin to understand this and especially the particular kind of engineering that lee spent most of his time doing which is coastal engineering. and that's a sub-specialty within civil engineering itself. i wanted to understand lee as someone more than just four years as a confederate general, i wanted to understand 30 years he spends as a civil engineer. what drives me to that?
fundamentally because i'm trained as an intellectual historian, in other words, historian of ideas or the waylay people think. i took my ph.d in university of virginia. i approached lee with exactly that way with trying to understand him. i want to understand how the man's mind works and to do that i have to understand his profession which was that of an engineer. that's an interesting way of coming at robert e. lee because not many of biographies of robert e. lee spend a whole lot of time talk about career before the army during the civil war. those 30 years don't even take up the first volume.
another famous biography of lee that was written by one of freeman's accolades, the first 30 years to lee in 1861. so purely by the fact that i am historian of something other than military affairs, i am certainly going to come at lee with a very different set of expectations and understandings and that makes me revisionist and i confess to the deed but i confess to the deed that every historian who does this kind of work seriously is going to be a revisionist. .. ..
the collective works of lincoln. or if you want to write about grant, you have the 27 of the papers of ulysses s grant. they are there and easily available and beautifully edited. there is no standard edition of these letters in these papers. that is a problem because lee was a compulsive letter writer. haywood wrote i would estimate somewhere between 6,008,000 letters in his life. only there are a lot of them but they are scattered all over the place.
little petty packets of lee papers here little penny packet salih papers there. i'm access to archives there were all the way from the morgan library in new york city to liber in san marino and california. and at various points in between. even more is how muchly material surfaces on ebay and auction sites. there are a lot of lee letters and material still in private hands. there is no single edition of lee's works that makes life easier for a biographer. on the other hand are going to make some very interesting discoveries, which i did in the process of this. sometimes in your making interesting new discoveries, you are going to revise the conclusions people come to earlier that makes you a revisionist. of its tools or sources down to work in a serious way is
really performing visual is in. is it what's done sloppy and careless fashion? with consideration aforethought. i would like to believe i am in the second category. cracks judy in new jersey you are on with historian. cracks yes, thank you very much. i like to bring us back to the last call on the origin of the last call. i'm in the middle of the american minds the failure of the genteel elites. and it mentions books by charles francis and hillary adams. the potential origin and i was
one if you could speak more to that. thank you very much. cracks judy, the lost cause could be said to have strong april 9, he 65 the appomattox courthouse. this is when lee issues his last general order is sometimes known as general orders number nine. and in that order the army of northern virginia is told he fought a noble and honorable war. but greater union numbers have overcome that nobility and prepared us to surrender. we've managed to do with honor with conducted ourselves with honor so now we can all go home and believe what we did was honorable. that becomes the root of this thing called the lost cause. the lost cause will sprout
from their to acquire a number of facets. one principal tenant of the lost cause is at the southern confederacy of the secession of the southern states is not about slavery. that really what drove the confederates to succeed from the union was a concern about states rights or a concern about tariffs or concern about the northern economy and potential dictation bite northern capitalism so forth and so on things like that anything but slavery. we find in the writings of former confederates here is his memoir destruction and reconstruction. slavery had nothing to do with the confederacy with a simply a story cooked up by the abolitionists. that becomes the first tenant of the lost cause. another tenant of the lost
cause is that they confederacy did not really lose the war. the confederacy was a ground down by the superior weight of yankee capitalism. that attrition, not military skill or military genius simple raw barbarous attrition. that is what destroyed the south. they fought until there is no one left standing to fight. at superior numbers and that accounts for why the confederacy loses the war doesn't really lose the war, the war was unfair from the start. almost as if you would say one team field 11 players the other team only fields three, because who's going to win in that game. and then the lost cause rests on the assumption that always
behave themselves with honor and nobility. when that yankees invade the south, they behave like vandals. they behave like attila the hun. they rob, they destroy, they rape, they kill. when lee's army lunges across the potomac into the north it behaves itself. all of those are as phony as a 3-dollar bill. and just to give you some illustrations of this southerners always behave honorably when they invaded the north one the south does not invade the north all that much. but when the army of northern virginia comes into pennsylvania in the summer of 1863 every record on the
ground shows the confederate army basically help themselves to anything that was not nailed down. they behave just like the yankees did. which is to say they behave like most 19th century armies did. what gave this a particular edge was the confederates wound it up something like 500 that shackled them and sent them down to the richmond slave markets to be sold into slavery. that was a different kind of repossessions always say. that caused a serious adult the whole question like we behaved honorably. there is not a whole lot of honor in capturing defenseless and innocent people and enslaving them. but let me take this back to the whole question of general orders number nine and leaves and involvement in it. lee himself is not actually
drafted general orders number nine. it is really composed by police and secretary charles marshall. lee might have been a great letter writer when it came to personal correspondence but he detested official paperwork. and for most of the civil war he will allow marshall to draft his documents he will make some corrections and lean over her shoulders. only it makes a couple of questions strikes out a few things when lee does sit down to write a document this way, which is his final report to jefferson davis, he tells a very different story. the story he tells and as a final report to jefferson davis is about how the army of
northern virginia seem to have lost all sense of discipline and cohesion. how it straggled, how it failed, how everything that held the army together seem to come apart. the army did not seem to be fighting anymore. he's putting a lot of blame on the behavior of his own soldiers. that is very different from the myth of the lost cause. but general orders number nine that promoters of the loss caused would prefer to not the trial report of leaves. why then did they find northerners like charles francis adams and henry adams appearing to support the lost cause? the adams brothers, the post war turned out to be a very different world than the one they thought they were going to inhabit. was a very different world than any previous adams.
this is one of the first families of the united states. they believed as elites they deserve a certain measure of respect. the postwar society with its energetic embrace of expansion, of industrialism, showed no particular inclination to pay respect to great families from the past. and the adams is turned to the lost cause almost as a way of criticizing what they believe northern society has become. the lost cause becomes a weapon for saying see how noble those southerners were in defeat? see how terrible weight northerners are in victory. theirs was the complaint of an elite family that did not feel, like rodney dangerfield, they feel they had gotten no respect. and so they use the lost cause
to try to buttress their own claims to that kind of respect. not that they succeeded, not that they got it. that was part of their strategy is wi-fi the adams brothers embracing the lost cause. not because they love the lost cause. charles francis adams fought against it in a massachusetts regiment. but because it became a handy stick to beat their fellow disrespectful northerners with. >> steve, thank you for holding your own with historian alan. >> caller: thank you so much but i so appreciate your appearances on c-span. you always have words of wisdom. you are the voice of reason. the question i have is recently you are on c-span discussing your biography of late you discuss potential implications and potentially
leading to a settlement with the north of the united states. i know there's always a risk for historians to play the what if game, you had when i thought very brilliant observations about the political impact that would have had with respect to world war ii. i thought it would be very helpful for me and the audience to hear your review and perhaps expand on that again. i think it has profound implications for many of the discussions we are having today. >> thank you steve. steve, thanks for that. i start off by asking a particular question of people. what kind of world would we be looking at or if lincoln had not been reelected in 1864, if
the confederacy had achieved its independence. and as much as i dislike what if questions, i have encountered people who've made there are so many contingent factors that go into the making of historical events. asking what if almost becomes a fantasy. people have fantasy leagues for football, baseball and sometimes i think their people have fantasy leagues for history. on the other hand, there is at least some limited consideration for the what if question. if only because it let's us see the possible alternatives are not necessarily good ones. sometimes people ask me, what
do you think the turning point of the civil war was? was the most important moment of the civil war? what was the moment that won the civil war what was the hinge of the civil war? and i surprise them when i tell them appomattox courthouse. what they're expecting me too see as antietam, gettysburg or something like that. no appomattox courthouse. and they think wait a minute and i put my finger at that partly as a rhetorical gesture but also partly to illustrate the fact it could have been differently especially through abraham lincoln. if for instance lincoln had not been that seems to me at
least there is no question about that if not mcclellan himself and certainly his party and if this negotiation had begun no one is going to back to shooting war they'd been too much bloodshed. there is too much awareness of tumescent exhaustion. people in the north would not have elected mcclellan they anticipate an extended work beyond that. so had mcclellan been elected there would have been negotiations. it would have ended and no other way than with confederate independence. if confederate independence had occurred, there are a number of really unpleasant things that i think were very
likely resulted. one is the united states would have continued to dissolved in secessions. once you have a successful succession there's no reason you should not have more. and it would not be difficult the pacific coast hiding off the northwestern states the great lakes era the great lakes area. hiding off itself into its own independent republic. leaving what would say pennsylvania, new york and new england as the united states. to become a useless tiny republic was no longer with united states business antic free trade zone for their meat
trade wars. and if there had been that kind of what would've been that results when it came to world war i and world war ii? for there been a united states to intervene? no. and the result of that that's only one possibility. another possible result confederate independence as a wrinkle result is the rendition of fugitive slaves. during the course of the civil war we estimate somewhere between 200 and maybe the upward 500,000 flood slavery in either found some kind of home in the north or contraband camps as they were
called. or founded in union uniform. found some kind of refuge that way. at the end of negotiations they confederacy almost certainly would have required rendition of the fugitives. it was genuinely horrible thought. so horrible we think we could not imagine that, oh really? if the price of a piece, if the price of bringing home your father, your brother, your son, was the rendition of those fugitives, i wonder how many white northerners would have walked on that? my guess is not many. after all we demanded rendition at the end of the revolution. i see no reason why there would not of been a similar demand. they would not of been entirely successful but there's not an entirely successful revolution. that would not mean the man had not been named in some
cases met. so there is another unhappy product of a confederate victory. and then there would be the confederacy itself. the confederacy would have seen its future at lying and expansion the creation of a slave empire. not just in the confederate states themselves. but imperialistic expansion to the caribbean, to cuba, to the other islands of the west indies. to central america. in the decade before the civil war there been a variety of filibustering these are basically mercenary expeditions funded by americans to topple local governments and nicaragua, panama places like that. there almost led and financed. in a postwar environment where the confederacy was
independent that kind of filibustering would have become foreign policy. he would have seen aggressive expansion of a confederate slave empire. these are the conclusions you can look at with any kind of ease or calm. and yet i think they are the answers it would to a what if question. veteran of the union army lieutenant seriously wounded sat on the united states supreme court. so one of the famous injustices of the supreme court. sitting on the bench with him briefly served in the confederate army.
white's response, my god, if we had one. and i think in that same stricken tone of voice is what we have to see is the answer to that what if. >> had a long association with gettysburg college, you live in the area had intimate knowledge of the area. can you get a good sense of the battle by walking the battlefield up there? >> all the time, all the time. battles feel that gettysburg is such a wonderful place to walk, to visit, to meander, to analyze, to think about. sometimes of course the temptation to second-guess,
that always comes you wander around that marvelous battlefield and you come, in my mind anyway to the central location smashed against the union defenses. and you think of this small plot of ground may be the most hallowed of hallowed ground. in the north american continent. it is a marvelous and magical place to be in, to walk around it. i have never lost an interest i've never lost a thirst and walking on the battlefield of gettysburg. >> bob, nashville, tennessee. good afternoon you are on with historian of book tv. >> good afternoon. i teach history at tennessee state university in nashville. and i teach survey courses.
i have seen and shown in class and many times films that you are in and i point out to the students this guy looks and sounds exactly like fraser crane. kelsey grammar were doing a history professor he would use you as a model. like you, i had a grandmother i was born in 1952 she was 70 when i was born. she was born in 1883. she used to tell me the stories of how the yankees came and that brings up something that you see from gone with the wind to the boy
about the looting of the south. it makes it look like their organized criminals taking everything out is a third of everything they need but stealing silver items or whatever, gold, whatever the plantation owners owned. and i never really seen anything written about that. i was wondering if you have any knowledge about the scale of that sort of thing? >> armies are armies. the days of nebuchadnezzar, armies descend upon the areas they are invading like locusts. and that simply eat up, take up, steel. that's what armies do.
when an army comes into your neighborhood, all law was set aside. this is one of the horrors of war. and i use the word horrors deliberately i'm a son of an army officer the father of another army officer. i want to tell you frankly, i have in my lifetime known many officers the arno officers who are most dedicated, the most serious about their calling are also the ones whom i can call the most sincere and dedicated pacifist. they are really the ones who understand or cost. the also understand work cannot be entered into but reluctantly. won't happen in the environment of war is never anything to be enjoyed. and when i see or become a species of entertainment, that
is when i had the uncomfortable feeling there is such a thing as war pornography. so while i have written a great deal about the american civil war and about war itself , i am not a military historian. and i approach the subject of war with a certain degree of hesitation and caution. knowing that the costs and imposes on people are simply beyond definition. it has been said or is one of the four of the apocalypse along with famine, plague, yes it is on that same level. so 19th century army and our civil war misbehave they are
in some sense not doing anything different and even have done in our own time. while we are reluctant sometimes to admit it even our own forces have in modern warfare misbehaved. that is on the sad eventualities of war. that does not move her hands together and say nothing we can do about it. we must simply always understand war is a great calamity. and that even when the result of war is a victory the price to be paid for is always a great and terrible price. >> i'm sorry doctor go-ahead records of just going to add, so this is the way i think we approach even our own civil
war. remembering these sacrifices. remembering all that was lost "in the cauldron" of war. and all that it cost. because the cost across are more serious than almost any other. >> 202 is area code 748-8200 for eastern time zones and have a question or comment for historian allen (202)748-8201 for those in the mountain and pacific time zones. if you cannot get through on the phone lines you can try text message (202)748-8903. that is for text messages only. please include your first name and your city. rich in orange, california text into you, i really enjoyed your link and reveal on the coffee table life lincoln intimate portrait book. i am currently reading lee
with the 36 page bibliography and 82 pages of notes. the acknowledgment section includes a mention of your use of four by six cards. is that how you assembled and crafted the 434 pages of text? >> easy answer to that, yes. [laughter] i in fact have right beside me here a box of four by six cards with the next project i'm working on. [laughter] not in some ways i suppose is an old fashion way of collecting one's research. it is one i pitched into very early and have stayed with. i often say i read when i'm in the middle of a project i read, i read, i read a note, i note, i note that i accumulate boxes and boxes of four by six
4 by 6 and why not 3 by 5. i can't enough on a 3 by 5 card. i need the 4 by 6. 4 by 6 has become my standard procedure and on 4 by 6 i put all the material. >> how many 4 by 6 cards and where are they stored right now? >> there are 3 boxes stored in the back room behind me, you can't see it but they are there. all marked robert e. lee. they are there for boxes on 4 by 6 cards. ic you get the idea. there's a lot of boxes full of 4 by 6's. >> jim in caliente, california.
>> wonderful discussion. just your thoughts, please, on the issue of reparations especially because you are an expert on reconstruction and what is the medallion on your suit? >> the little pen is the james madison program's logo because i'm james madison at princeton university. it's one of the hats that i wear there. yes, all right. that's the pin, now -- >> that's at princeton university? >> the initiative and james madison program itself are part of princeton. >> thank you. >> now, focusing on that, you are going to have to remind me your first question.
>> reparations. >> reparations, thank you. the question of reparations usually comes up, i can almost -- most recently it came up an article written by nicole hannah jones in the wake of the 1619 project and just before that by coats and both of these were passionate arguments on behalf of reparations, passionate though they are, i have some questions and hesitations here because on the one hand the payment of reparations is something which seems to be normal. we have, in fact, engaged in reparations payments for a number of groups which have suffered harms and wrongs at the hands of governments. particularly here the german government dealing with the
israeli government. i think of our dealings with those who were unjustly assigned to near concentration camps in world war ii, japanese americans, the reparations agreement there. reparations are in a sense part of justice system, so what about reparations as it is promoted by nicole hannah jones, by coats and by a number of others running back over many years. first of all, i think they have to work with the definition of what we are talking about. are we talking about reparations for slavery or are we talking about reparations for subsequent segregation and discrimination because those are too separate
categories and sometimes i think that coats in particular wants to phase them together and talk about them as one and i don't think that's quite so easy if only because the harm it is done, the tort, for instance, if i can use legal language it's an entirely different tort. the first question is what are we talking about, most talks are reparations for slavery and here is where we start to run into difficulties. reparations for slavery looks like the plank, 10 feet wide over a casm and the plank is 10 feet long and you put weight on it and things start to fall down. the first thing that you want to ask is, well, who should be paying reparations? here is where the question starts to get difficult, should
it be the united states government? well, why because the united states did not hold slaves? the united states did not pass slavery or enslavement legislation. the united states government had law and it was the state that is had enslavement statutes. slavery was a state-base matter, not a federal government matter. so should the federal government be paying slavery reparations? here is a major question. how can it because it didn't own any slaves. let's single out alabama and the state of alabama should pay
reparations. let's also remember that there were other states that we don't think of as slave states. alabama legalized slavery from the time that it was a territory until the civil war. so we are talking 50, 60 years. my own home state, common wealth of pennsylvania legalized slavery from the time it was founded all the way up to 19th century. so if the state has responsibility, the state comes away, much more responsibility for paying reparations for slavery than alabama which simply does not seem to make a whole lot of common sense. in pennsylvania, in fact, fight to end slavery in alabama. pennsylvania on its own merits
move to emancipate and eliminate slavery, yes, it date. how can you evade the fact that pennsylvania has more guilt over time than alabama and yet the oddity of that would jar many people. then you had a question of, well, if you can't easily settle who is going to, what entity is going to pay reparations, does it come down to individuals? what about the descendants of slave owners, should they pay reparations? well, one of the difficulties is that many slave owners, many descendants of slave owners are not in the same economic
position. to whom do you pay reparations? obviously, you think the answer should be the descendants of slaves? yeah, well, that will eliminate, for instance, some important segments of black america today who are not descendants of slaves i think someone like colin powell, powell was not descendant of slaves. how do we deal with large numbers of black people who would be excluded from a reparation's settlement. is that fair? that would lead to a related problem and that is in many cases so many slaves were themselves the offspring of the slave holders. among the many crying injustices of slavery was the fact that
slavery was a system of sexual oppression and that slave owners raped and misused their female slaves and the offspring of it were multiracial or biracial. well, if you are a descendant of a slave, the irony is you may also be the descendant of a slave holder. in fact, studies estimate that on average, this is -- this is on average figure, black americans are anywhere between 20 and 25% white by descendant and that surprising and shocking statistic is itself a testimony to the widespread sexual exploitation that occurred during slavery. you're a
descendant of slave and slave holder, to whom are you paying what? so serious critical problem there. how do you make that determination? i think a final problem that has to be confronted by reparations is, what about the civil war? it is estimated that the civil war cost somewhere between 650 and 850,000 lives. a mean has been established more or less around the figure of 750,000, but that's a mean. statistically the variations in that. of those civil war related deaths, something in the order of 330 or 350,000 lives were lost in the union cause.
these were people who were fighting and dying to end slavery. and their lives are a price that would pay to end it which is manager that lincoln captured in the second inaugural when he talked about the price of the war and how this war was a judgment that was inflicted on beth north and south for its complicity of slavery. if we drop a blood drop by the lash is being paid for by the drop of blood drawn by the sword, what is the value of those lives? how do we compute the value of those lives that were sacrificed including the life of abraham lincoln itself. how do we compute the value of those lives and reckon it against reparations bill? i don't know how to do that.
also know that you cannot take that reckoning into the -- your decision making about reparations. if all the reparations is about getting a check, then my concern is that we have forgotten about the civil war itself and i have heard people say, i was at a reparations conference in colombia university a number of years ago frankly stood out and said, all i want to know who is going to write me the check, if that is the only consideration, then we have forgotten about the civil war and the lives, black and white, that were lost in that war, to eliminate slavery. so i ask, what is the reckoning for that as well? these are questions which do not have easy answers but these are the questions i think which have to be asked if what we are going to eventually come up with are
honest answers. >> we are talking with allen guelzo on book tv, david in virginia, you're on. >> thank you, good afternoon, professor. i -- i'm a native pennsylvanian. i was borned in raised in chambersburg, i happened to marry a young lady whose great grandfather was in the mcarthur army who burned my hometown. so you can well know i have mixed feelings about -- about the rebellion, however, there are some questions that have been bothering me over the years and i will just share them with you. my first one was, was jay buchanana homosexual, was stevens a mirtyr and i have a
few questions and that's related to the election of 1864, did lincoln run as a third party candidate and if not was andrew johnson a third party president. >> well, my answer to that is going to be a classic. yes, and no. and the reason i will put it that way, in 1864 lincoln is facing a real election which has some serious odds against him, the war has been going on for 3 years and by the summer of 1863, '64, what has he got to show for? the confederacy is still fighting, lee is still defending
richmond. sherman has not taken atlanta, block aid runners are getting through the federal navy blockade. for many people 3 years of war was about enough and gotten us to nothing and the leaders of the republican party said came to lincoln and said, we are going to have to do something desperate. lincoln is very, very eager to draw as many democratic votes as he possibly can to side with his republicans. he's not sure if they run just on the strength of the republican votes that they are going to win because many people who are satisfied with the course of things that they would shift the votes. how to appeal to the democratic voter who doesn't particularly like republicans or republican policies but nevertheless wants to see the war brought to a successful conclusion? well, what you do rename the
republican party. so when the republican party comes together for convention in baltimore in the early summer of 1864, it is a new title. it calls itself the national union party and while they renominate abraham lincoln, republican nominee as presidential nominee, they also select a democrat and in this case a serving democrat andrew johnson to run as vice president. in 1860 the republican party had already done something like that. in 1860 they nominate lincoln for the presidency but they nominate as vice president hamlin of maine who had been a long-time democrat and had just come over the republican ranks because of opposition to slavery. so you had certain foreshadowing of that in 1860.
1860 becomes explicit and lincoln is nominated as president on national union ticket and his vice president will be andrew johnson, the only senator from a confederate state who refused to go south who stayed in the senate, life-long democrat and one who represents what had always been a democratic state. tennessee was the state of andrew jackson. on the other hand, lincoln had appointed johnson to be military governor of tennessee and johnson had done reasonably good job, not perfect but certainly far better than the other experiments lincoln had made in appointing military governors for occupied areas of the south. in fact, johnson himself had addressed delegations of black tennesseans, promising them i will be your moses, i lead you
to the land of freedom. republicans wrote that, if what we are trying to construct a ticket that would appeal to democrats, andrew johnson is our man. johnson gets the vice presidential nomination and posters get up, national union ticket. you see abraham lincoln and andrew johnson. for all practical purposes the leadership of this national union effort is -- is still the republican party who was kidding? but it is representing this -- this very aggressive pr effort on the part of republicans to make a bipartisan appeal to democrats, so they run as national union party. is it really a third party, no. it's really the republicans carrying a sign with a different anymore on it, national union
ticket. and is johnson a third-party candidate, well, no one would have thought at that point because johnson despite long career as a democrat seemed to be uttering all the appropriate republican noises, so it goes forward that way, lincoln is reelected and johnson is elected as his vice president and at that point, the whole national union thing disappears because they got -- they got reelected and that's the last we hear of it. so is the third party, yeah, but only in the sense of using a different name for pr purposes. is it a third party, no, in the really because it's in the a different party than it was before. it's simply a strategy for recruiting democratic votes. >> four minutes left with our guest allen guelzo, every in-depth guest we ask for their favorite books and what they're currently reading, here are allen guelzo's answers. favorite books, jonathan
edwards, john gardner's on moral fiction, daniel walker, the political culture of the american riggs, harry jaffa, crisis of the house divided. bosswell, life of johnson. what are you reading? hidden pleasures of an intellectual life and the recurring crisis of american democracy. i wish we had time to discuss some of those but we have a couple minutes left and we want to get james from ohio in here. >> good afternoon, i hope you can hear me clearly. i have my tv muted. professor guelzo, first of all, i want to associate myself early
comment of steve 50 minutes ago. you are as a retired teacher myself let me just say you're like the very model of thoughtful analysis and what used to be call ratio summation and above all contextualizing and i know some people probably get on you for lengthy answers but context is everything. i've been to gettysburg 3 times. i have my book. and gettysburg if you go once, you will want to go back. what would have happened, i think another thing that popped into my head. i've had a lot of your thoughts like 4 by 6 stack-up, canada and mexico might have gotten a little piece of the united states if it had been
bulkannized if you had suggested and another the coldest winter on the korean war and he says perhaps all wars are in some way or another the product of miscalculations and i guess maybe a good way to wind this up, unless you want to talk -- >> you gotten second and we will get 30 second from dr. guelzo. >> the answer is they miscalculated utterly. they miscalculated they had the resources to carry on a car and miscalculated that the north would respond by refusing to admit the rebellion and making a war and they miscalculated by assuming that foreign nations would come to the rescue and
intervene. at every moment they misclavated and nobody criticized them more than that than robert e. lee. he said this is how i knew, this is how i always knew that this would end. >> host: you mentioned your 4 by 6 cards at your side for your current project which is what? >> guest: it is another book about abraham lincoln. so i'm returning to some original turf. >> host: we will close with text from al in new york, who plays the base that's in the back end? >> i do. i was a music major my first year. a composition major actually.
war general who commanded the confederate army in northern virginia. >> host: allen guelzo let's begin with your latest book, robert e lee a life, who was he before the civil war, what was his reputation? >> guest: he was best known for two things, son of a famous revolutionary war hero and that was the famed cavalry comma