tv Book Discussion on We Do CSPAN December 25, 2013 2:55pm-4:01pm EST
dylan steve will be at the signing tent after if you have additional questions. those of you been dying to know who i am. i am jessica grogan. i also have a book in the 60s is at the festival this weekend and you can find that in the 10th as well. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> where you're at the national press club with jennifer baumgardner. we are talking about "we do!." >> i would say this book is a feel-good book about one of the most frank thinks that have been politically in last couple
decades. now it's a done deal. it's considering that momentum is continuing. i don't often have this happy of his tory. it's also a meditation on marriage. i'm a feminist writer and i thought a lot about marriage. as a married person. i have a lot of issues with it. i think it has historically a lot of complexity for all of us as people who care about social is, but also value in something i was trying to grapple with in the book. and then there's american leaders as they came to terms with what it means to have this language of love and commitment be extended to everyone. a feel-good book. >> is it composed of essays by these american leaders? how did you put it together? >> well, it's chronological, beginning with harvey mills. its beaches primarily. in some cases if there are good speeches it's essays or interviews that were done
recently. sententious interstitial materials. because there is a giant -- he was allowed to make his case something he had written. >> did you include an editorial on the seat of change? >> madeline keenan cavaco editor hispanic governor of vermont, this incredible woman politician. she did that more. when she came into office, it was a really big deal that she liaise with the community. she was making a value statement by doing that. she also has a daughter who happens to be a friend of mine, which is a quaint events. really try to understand how she could represent her assurance in a meaningful way and be brave in the face of her relationship
everyone to this great affair now in its 30th year. let's hear it for eduardo and mitchell cap one. [applause] doris kearns goodwin and a. scott berg it's so wonderful to have you here and welcome to miami. this is our premier annual cultural events so it's great to have you here. you have both written books about presidents who are part of the progressive era and really, it was really started by theodore roosevelt and of course you he was affectionately known as teddy. doris kearns goodwin how did he start the progressive era and what propelled him to act and what were his successes that are still with us today? >> i may indeed call him teddy even though he didn't like to be called teddy but i think he has lost that battle with history. teddy roosevelt came into power at a time when really the aspects of the industrial age have not been dealt with since the civil war.
there was no real worker's compensation. women and children were exploited in the factories and huge monopolies were being up small businesses. the gap between the rich and the poor had grown whiter sounding familiar to situations today. the digital revolution produced an economic change and even though he was a conservative when he started and certainly a republican when he started he realized the public and party would not be able to continue as a majority for some last it began to deal with these problems of the industrial age. even as governor he tried to produce reform legislation anchoring the political bosses who were tied in with the old order so they decided they would dump them into the vice presidency where he would have no power that would be the end of it. of course mckinley is assassinated and he becomes president. it's not that he did it on his own. he understood the only way he could move this reluctant congress to take a legislation that was necessary was to mobilize the country to push
them from the outside and so that's why he defined the word bully pulpit as the president's power to educate and morally move the country forward. but he needed help and he had help from the press at that time the most remarkable set of relationships with the press and they too or progressive and they too had their own agendas. it really was an uprising from the country at large to know something has to happen but he was at the helm so they will forever be identified with the present era. i talked 40 years ago and i always wanted to live with him and finally after all these other characters i got a chance to be with this most colorful exacerbating extraordinary figure. sometimes i wonder what i'm doing spending my life with dead presidents but i wouldn't change it for anything in the world. [applause] scott we are going to get to you but let's continue in chronological order because cats came into the picture and you
decided to include tapped in your book as well. how did they become close? there were 400 letters between them. how did they become close and how did the rift happen? >> i didn't know that much much about task but i needed to follow the progressive movement up to the time he meets these two. taft exceeded teddy and i knew they ran against each other in 1912. you always go back and scott does too you want the primary sources the letters and diaries and private journals are the treasures. when i found these 400 letters between the two i realized they became friends in her early 30s, and odd couple. teddy is marching around everywhere doing wrestling and boxing. past weighing between 250 and treated and 50 not doing much wrecks -- wrestling and boxing at that time but they like each other. opposites almost tracked it's a teddy brings him into his cabinet even though all his life taft wanted to be a judge is
never a politician. from that cabinet post he decides this is the man i want to succeed and he runs tax campaign gives him advice at every moment. the only thing he didn't give them advice on was the campaign song which i don't think teddy would have approved of because it was get on a raft with taft. if you are on a raft with 340-pound taft you wouldn't be on their rafts very long. teddy goes to africa and he comes back from africa and he has been told by his progressives that taft has become too much in coziness with the old guard of the republicans in congress betraying the progressive legacy. it really wasn't that because he did try to do what he thought he was doing but he didn't have the skills of the public leader. he didn't know how to deal with the press or give a speech. teddy decided because the progressives run at to run against taft and because there are two republicans running one
for the republican nomination that taft wins and of course he boasts the party when he loses and runs as the party campaign opening the door for the democrat to win. what was so emotionally moving for me was the heartbreak when they broke was much greater than i realize. the friendship had been much longer. i love writing about these emotional thing so it allowed it to be more than just a straight linear story. >> well then scott berg woodrow wilson came into the picture and he was elected and went back to progressivism. talk about that a little bit. >> woodrow wilson went back to progressivism big-time and roosevelt, not teddy had put there but really built upon it. what wilson wanted to do and it's kind of ironic because most people's image of wilson is up this very presbyterian minister's son but in fact he was extremely human. he was extremely emotional and very passionate and what he
wanted to do above all was to humanize the presidency. so where theodore roosevelt had created this relationship with the press woodrow wilson really wanted to advance fat and what he did was he started holding press conferences which a president had never done before. everything he did was toward personalizing the white house and toward that and wilson came in with really the most aggressive progressive agenda that we had seen. he brought it about largely through this process of humanization and he did it by showing up at the congress. wilson had an extremely akhil your view of how the legislative ranch and the executive branch should function. he thought being a political scientist at these two branches and get ready you have to work with me on this. [laughter] he thought they should cooperate.
[laughter] it's bigger than that. it's bigger than that. they should co-operate the government and so wilson did something presidents have not done since john adams in 1800. he showed up in the congress to conduct business. he brought back the president appearing to deliver the state of the union address. woodrow wilson delivered 25 addresses to joint sessions of congress and he actually showed up in a little room that sits in the congress which was designed for presidents to come and work with the congress. now i think a lot of presidents have failed to find this room. [laughter] i'm not naming anyone. but i think they have failed to find it because it has a rather tricky name. it's called the president's
room. [laughter] >> lbj found it. >> yes, he did and really, he found it big time. that is why so much legislation got past i think. these were guys and johnson was in many ways in the wilsonian tradition of getting in there, rolling up your sleeves, may be cracking few legs and arms and twisting them and that is what wilson did. with that, we immediately saw that in the first few months of the wilson administration the lowering of tariffs, the introduction of the modern income tax which had a graduated scale so that the rich are paid more. we saw the establishment of the federal reserve system which has been basically the basis of the american economy for the last century. he went into eight hour workdays and worker's compensation and so forth.
put rand eyes on the supreme court. all these things, progresses ms. -- progressivism is was about leveling the playing field. he was not anti-wealth, he was not anti-wall street that he was antitrust. he was against unfair competition. anywhere he saw it he tried to fight it. >> you have both alluded to the fact that there are a lot of parallels between today and those times. are we in another gilded age? >> well i do think one of the things that produce that great gap between the rich and the poor at the turn of the 20th century was as i set said the whole aconda may shift did. it used to be if you were living in some country town the richest person might be the doctor or lawyer on in the house on the hill but with these massive truss forming the big railroad spanning the country and the oil industry coming you have these
billionaires side-by-side with the immigrants in a tenement slums. at the turn-of-the-century the pace of life had sped up and because you had telegraphic letters and local horrors exploited in the tabloid press people were saying there were a lot of nervous disorders because the pace of life is so sped up. think about it today with the pace of life speeding up more with the measures we have now. the problem is i think yes we are in some ways in another gilded age but that progressive era, that mobilization of the country to handle these problems has not seemingly emerged. so as a result i'm not even sure "the bully pulpit" has the power it did. in both wilson's time in teddy's time when they would give a speech it would become the common conversation in the country. it would be reported in full even by the time fdr went on his fireside chats. he could hear 80% of the people would listen to his chats whole. saul bellow said you could walk down the street on a hot chicago
night and not miss a word of what he was saying because everyone was sitting in the kitchen listening to the radio. you would listen to the whole speech up to reagan when there were three networks. now the media is divided the way it was in 19th century. the national newspapers came along at my time at the turn of the 20th century, i live in these periods. sometimes when i'm writing checks sometimes i'm writing 1913. [laughter] the national newspapers emerged in the early 20th century are placing partisan press. in the old days you would only read your newspaper if you are a republican or whig or democrat. linking gave a great speech and was carried out on the shoulders of his people. he fell on the ground and they booed and hissed him in the same speech. we got it way from that and now here we are again divided media. you may only watch her all my favorite television station and
our attention span is so diminished. the guys that i wrote about and mccoys magazine were given two years i'm a clue her. ida tarbell ray baker william alan white to write 50,000 pieces month after month and people read them and talked about them. i'm just not sure anybody would be given that amount of time by a newspaper or magazine today. and the expense accounts and the camaraderie they had in the attention span to talk about it. i worry about where the country is going in terms of our influence on the government. mcclure the guy that ran "forbes" magazine said there is no one left but all of us and sometimes i think that's true for us. we complain what's going on in washington that haven't figured out how to do something about the paralysis that is there. >> it think the fragmentation in the media, people make up their own new media all the time. the social media and the
blogging and the fact free media. that is happening all over the place. scott berg how was president wilson treated by the media? >> he was treated well by the media especially by the ida tarbell's and ray sandra baker. >> i loved baker. he was my favorite. >> he spent his final years not only working for wilson but writing at a volume biography of woodrow wilson he so adored him. one of the most glorious pieces about wilson was written by ida tarbell in fact and in fact it was so wonderful i found myself not quoting it he could as i thought it made me look too partisan in wilson's favorite. i think it's quite true what you have both been suggesting about this great sexualization of the media. what we have lost and you articulated it, we just don't
think as much about it. we react from the gut and that is why we flock to that cable station that speaks what we think we think even though we haven't thought it. i think that's a big factor today. but wilson had a very good relationship with the media up to and just into the first world war which wasn't -- brought us into it. it becomes one of the great ironies and the wilson story that the most progressive president we had to date not even forgetting t.r. let that this president became the most suppressive of the press which he did during the war revitalizing the alien sedition acts and really had the quiet certainly since the days of adam's but with lincoln they
were brought back and in fact wilson used to cite lincoln all the time. that's a good cover, lincoln. >> it's interesting people asked me what would teddy roosevelt done in today's world of twitter and i think he would have loved it. his great strength was to reduce complex problems into shorthand language so the square deal. everything that scott said the wilson believed in, that their nests, not going after the rich unless they have accumulated their wealth in an unfair means, i'm not going after the poor unless they haven't have been taking care of their opportunities. the rock on which the country will flounder not only the square deal but speak softly and carry a big stick. heaving gave maxwell house slogan, good to the last drop. studies drank 40 cups of coffee a day. something has to explain the incredible energy. >> he t.r. would have loved
twitter because you couldn't shut them up. >> he he loved being in the center of things. this is to strengthen his weakness. his daughter alice said he wanted to be the bride at the wedding and the corpse at the funeral and the baby at the baptism. [laughter] >> all this of course made wilson crazy. he thought t.r. was just a big blustering caricature of a man and in fact somebody once pointed out to t.r. that he said you know roosevelt ewan wilson really have the same objectives here. you have so many the same principles and plans that you believe in. you are really so much alike. why do you attack him every day? roosevelt thought and he said i think that's true. i guess wilson is just the weaker version of me. [laughter] >> wilson was the president of princeton university before he was president so did the ivory
tower environment affect him in a positive or negative way and how did it help with his governing? >> the ivory tower princeton help them in a positive way very much because he was trying to tear down the ivory tower. woodrow wilson was the poor son of a presbyterian minister who had the good fortune to go north to college from georgia and the carolinas where he grew up, virginia where he was born. he went to princeton in new jersey. there he found a very exclusive campus. he resented it as a graduate and he came to resent it as a professor there. he then became president of the college and it was at this time he decided now i have the ability to change what this college is. wilson's predecessor in the presidency of princeton was a man who used to brag that he ran the finest country club in america. and he did. there was no question about it. this was an enclave for his sons
of the very rich. wilson tried to tear that down and it was in doing that and he began writing about what he was doing in and speaking about was doing, this is how the most meteoric rise in american history occurred because people began to look at roosevelt who used the princeton campus as a great metaphor for america. he believed higher education should read the great catapults for people that anybody from any class in a country that has no classes, but in such a country anybody who is educated and works hard should be able to leapfrog, be able to go up a step above or two on the latter. so wilson became famous for this so much so that some of the political bosses in the democratic party were attracted to it, thinking it was a perfect combination to be their puppet. namely he sounded very progressive and reformist but
also he was a professor that was very weak. little did he know when he got elected governor of new jersey which served for 18 months, the first thing he did as governor was kick out the very machine machine that had put him in office. so everybody saw this was no weak college professor. >> he let's turn to the women in this president's lives. i'm eyes interested in the woman behind the man. i always wanted to my husband to be more like nancy reagan if elected so talk about how these women help these presidents. >> what's so interesting to me is there are actually three women i'm writing about, edith roosevelt nellie taft and ida tarbell. they each made choices that they had to make even though they were narrower choices for women at that time than we have today. edith roosevelt came from a family where her father had been
wealthy, had lost his shipping business andy became an alcoholic. she lived very near teddy when she was a young girl in a wealthy area and they had to move to more modest homes. forever after she drew a protective curtain around herself. she loved teddy from the time she was young. he and she worked girlfriend or boyfriend after college. they had a fight in his sophomore year in college. they broke up and he fell in love with the beautiful young girl from boston, alice. alice died in childbirth a few years later. he went to the bad lands depressed and thought he would never love again. the light had gone out of his life. he went back and married edith. it was a strong marriage. all she wanted from the marriage and her first ladyship was to give companionship and strength and the sanctuary tour ever restless husband. she said when she became first lady she had no intention of being a public personage and she wouldn't give her views on political opinions.
what mattered for woman was to only be in the newspaper twice when you are married and when you are very. she left the first ladyship very much unknown by the party but very much known by her family. nellie taft growing up in cincinnati had ambitions from the time she was an adolescent to do something but herb father sent her brothers to harvard and yale and not she. she decided to start teaching to her mother's dismay. she decided she might not marry as a result. she meets a will taft and he adored her and really respected her independence. he made her his partner in his whole career. she is really partly responsible for him choosing politics eventually instead of the judicial route he was on. she wanted that more expensive like. she helped with the speeches and she helped with this strategy. she became an extraordinary first lady very activist concerned with working women. she brought the cherry trees to washington. she opened her guest list to
more people and have been there for, created a public park with free concerts and incredibly sadly and altering his presidency two months after he was inaugurated when she just wrote -- read an article about "the new york times" about how extraordinary she was she fell on a yacht and had a devastating turned out. she recovered her power of walking but never could speak connected sentences again. he spent days trying to teach her how to say stop phrases, happy to see you so she could come to receptions and participate. you never know how things alter but this has contributed to this troubles as presidency. lastly ida tarbell growing up in northwestern pennsylvania watches the frustrations of her mother when her own family industry because her father is making more money than he ever dream to me it in a teacher. j.d. rockefeller comes in with standard oil and the octopus and does his business.
mother hoped he had gone on to higher education and has to worry about the family economics. i do praise that she will never take a husband and than she does not ever get married becomes the most famous journalist of her era. when she writes her standard oil exposé the newspapers kept recording that john d. rockefeller was willing to pay anyone who would marry her and take her on trips around the world and never let her go. laugh so it's interesting to think today no matter how much trouble we have balancing home and family work the choices were so much broader than they were. they each made a choice that fits their own needs and their own desires and that's the way women were. they were indispensable to their husbands, those first two ladies in very different ways. he has a bunch of women. i didn't mean it that way. >> no, no you certainly did not.
i feel a little as though we are on queen for a day where you have to come up with the most pathetic and the most romantic story. woodrow wilson had two wives at the same time. the first was a young woman he met in georgia when he was a struggling lawyer in atlanta. he was a presbyterian minister son. he met a presbyterian minister's daughter and a little town in georgia. they fell instantly in love and he was realizing he didn't really have a career as a lawyer so he took up academia at that point. the good news for me the biographer is she alan and he woodrow wilson began exchanging 3000 of the most passionate love letters i have ever read. guess i'm talking woodrow wilson they are almost hard to believe. they are emotional.
they are sensual, they are reviewing. yes, woodrow wilson. it's true, it's true. she got that what she gave. >> what the's that mean? >> let your conscience be your guide. [laughter] they married and she became a professor's wife in a college presidents wife. the interesting thing is she was a very good artist. she painted extremely well. she could've had a a career as an artist and gave it all up to be a proper wife. the role of women was dictated back then. she was the most supportive wife and would be all the way to the white house. one year they are living in the white house and ellen died.
the president was crashed and could barely get out of bed. he being so religious to not talk about suicide but he did say once that he wished somebody would just shoot him. he couldn't deal with it. two things got amount of dead. the first was the very week she died a war broke out in europe and they are now wrapping on the door saying mr. president there something happening and you need to be here. the second thing that happened over the course of the next few months was woodrow wilson had -- the way they would in movies and he was introduced to a very attractive young widow who lived in shinki d.c.. over the course of the next year or president went courting. he is having private dinners in the white house that were chaperoned and writing hundreds of the most passionate love letters. [laughter] you have ever read.
the other letters to ellen, that was puppy love. this is now a man in his late 50's having his last stand at romance and he woos her, he wins her and he marries her within a year and now she became the most supportive presidential wife one could imagine. they never left each other side. it reached a point where wilson who often used to walk to other departments of government just to stop in and have meetings, mrs. wilson would invariably go with him. she was trained in all the memoranda he was writing and it was almost as though fatalistic dating because what happened was after the war, after wilson came back with his league of nations and the peace treaty and went around the country to 29 cities to try to convince the american people that they should convince
the republican senate to ratify this treaty, which the republicans do not want to do, in the middle of this tour woodrow wilson collapsed and he was rushed home to washington from the middle of the country and a few days later woodrow wilson suffered a stroke. here is where mrs. wilson comes in. she and a handful of doctors engaged in what i consider the greatest white house conspiracy in history because three or four people decided they would never tell anybody the president had suffered a stroke. and so for the last year and a half of the wilson administration, for all intensive purposes, edith bolen golfs wilson became the first female president of the united states. [laughter] yes, yes, bring it on. she was making no decisions on her own chances but she said she
was merely a steward, but nobody saw the president of the thousands of people who wanted to see him. nobody saw him. it a handful if that without passing through mrs. wilson all the documents and the things that required signatures, commissions memorandums. nothing appeared before the president of the united states eyes until mrs. wilson decided what and when the president would act upon it. so she became a pretty supportive wife. >> i guess so. if i could just underscore something that scott said which i said earlier but is just so clear when you talk about it. letters, don't know what's going to happen 200 years when we don't have letters as historians to look back on. maybe e-mail would be saved but it's written staccato and not in that language. when people have the only means of communicating through letters and when you find the letters it's a treasure. there was a military aide to
both teddy and taft in those days the military aide was with the present all the time. teddy loved him like another son. taft adored him. when the break occurred he wrote letters every single day to his family which are absolute gold. it's the way we know how deep that rupture was especially for taft. he recounted what taft was feeling is teddy started talking about him calling him a fathead. this relationship has been so strong. finally he was supposed to take a trip in the spring of 1912 before the nomination thing began to heat up. before teddy threw his hat in the ring he decided i can't go. i have to stay with taft. he needs me. he tells taft he has canceled his shipping orders and taft says you have to go. you will be back, don't worry, when i really need you. he goes to europe for about four weeks and comes back on the
titanic and lost his life. taft was stricken yet again. everywhere he went he felt like he was missing this man. this man as the ship titanic was going down was telling somebody who wrote a letter to taft that he had these letters and he hoped maybe they would be remembered someday. they have been gold to biographers. >> that's wonderful. >> all i want to say to young people is keep track of what you are writing so if a biographer comes along 20 years later you will have stuff for us. >> and take a pen out every now and then. because it's different and we have shared in this. the men we have written about and the women too for that matter road so beautifully. when you take the time to write you compose a thought. this is a nice thing. you put it in lovely language. >> i'm going to ask you one more
question and then i'm going to open up to the audience. if you'd like to start coming up to the microphone we will hear from you as well. my final question is this. president obama's having such a difficult time right now. what advice would your presidents give him? [laughter] >> you can go first. >> president wilson would say, get to the president's room. go there. start a dialogue. woodrow wilson had a very contentious house of representatives. he did not get everything he wanted. but here is what woodrow wilson did. it was a sustained dialogue. for eight years there was a lot of consternation and a lot of argument. there was a lot of disagreement but it was an ongoing chat between these two houses, these
two branches of the american government. i think that is something wilson believed in so strongly. the second thing, and it's related to it, and especially ironic because we do have such a stiff figure. the fact is wilson personalized the presidency. he was not afraid to go down to the congress. he did not just sit in the imperial white house. again the ivory tower. he was willing to go there and he was willing to do anything to open the conversation. at one point even have a foreign relations committee in the united states senate come to meet in the white house. he said let me open the house to you if that's what it takes to get something passed. let's do it but he was eyes keeping the dialogue going. >> i agree with scott. in addition to going to the congress more it is using the tool of the white house. those congressman want to come there.
i know there have been difficulties because i know the president has invited various republican members who have not been wanting to be seen because of this terrible rift that has occurred between republicans and democrats. it looks like they are disloyal to the taste of their same with the president but there still something special about coming to the white house. lyndon johnson used to have them for reckless, for luncheon for dinner. there was one senator he called at 2:00 a.m. and he said i hope i didn't wake you up. he said no, i was just lying here looking up at the ceiling hoping my present with call. [laughter] the big difference it makes it harder today is the whole political culture in washington has changed. basis they around on weekends 50 years ago before they had to go home to raise the stupid funds to raise their stupid funds. campaign financing is the answer. they use to stay together and they would play poker and drink together and form friendships across party lines.
when johnson needed to get to dirksen to break a filibuster on the great civil rights act of 1964 he could go to him. there are so few friendships at any point between these people. a few of them served and were together and many of them it in world war ii together. they knew what it was like to have a common mission. they have lost that sense of a common mission which is our country. something has to bring that back if we can bring teddy, wilson and lbj in our presidents in there to figure out both sides of the aisle, congress and the presidency, it's time we are able to start dealing with our problems. [applause] thank you. >> thank you so much. now it's your turn. please introduce yourself. >> i live in wishing to d.c. and i had the privilege of being a founding member of the national museum of women of the arts and i was a --
there for 20 years. my question to mr. berg is in the education we had in our training we were asked to read a book called jailed for freedom which was a series of essays written by the suffragettes who were lawyers, physicians, judgee fighting for the right to vote. president wilson totally ignored them. i wondered if you would -- had encountered this in your research? >> i don't think that's exactly right that he totally ignored them. but he was quite aware of what was going on. wilson believed that women should have the vote. he believed there should not be a 19th amendment for many years and he came around on that he rather famously in 1915 got on the train and went to new jersey because he thought there was a states rights thing and we should have state-by-state. by 1915 and 16 there were a lot of protests outside the white house, alice paul and her sister
suffered just were being arrested and taken to jail. wilson said let them go. don't put them in jail. i know what the issue is. i'm not prepared to fight for a 19th amendment. she could've walked out anytime. she clearly wanted to stay and she was fighting for attention and making her point. by 1917, wilson was bringing the country to war and it was at this time he had a major shift. he had been playing to the more conservative wing of the suffrages for years with the state-by-state adoption but beginning in 1917 he was coming around for two big reasons. first of all we were fighting in europe for peace and freedom over there and he said well, how can we not have half the women in this country voting? that seem to be a huge mistake
to him. the second thing he saw during the war once we were in it was the role women were playing. they were leaving the house for work. they were actually doing a lot of just good works for the war movement. so wilson had an overnight change of heart and began actively campaigning for the 19th amendment such that by the time he came out calling another session of congress and told them that this was a war measure, but that is how important it was. we had to have national suffragn the united states because of the war. he thought that would be a good way to get everybody to rally behind him. within a year was a done deal and even alice paul came around to thank woodrow wilson for it. i would say he was late to the party but once he got there he had the lamp shade on.
[laughter] >> next question. we are going to move on now. sorry maam, we are going to go to the next question. >> good afternoon. mr. berg you alluded briefly to the answer to this regarding president wilson at princeton that these three presidents, what was their relationship, perhaps complicated relationship to status class? do you get a sense that t.r. was with the common man and not of the common man? he was a harvard and in taft was a yell man. a princeton man, yes and we knew that t.r. was friends with jake reese to the lower east side where my great grandparents set up shop on 100 years ago. i'm wondering on a specific note these three presidents of the
great immigration, were they part of the america of these three presidents? >> it's a great question. i think what happened for theodore roosevelt was that when he first went to harvard he kind of was afraid. he thought he should just be dealing with the people of his class. but underlying that kind of attitude from he came from and wealthy family in new york his father had been interested in social justice and not join the real estate business that it made them wealthy and had become a philanthropist. it worked with young newsboys and that instinct was somewhat in teddy. but then the real place where he began to shift away from that harvard class mentality was that he became a state legislator after congress. at first he went in and thought the irish guys my forebears with her tobacco in their cigars were of a different class than they once he wanted to. he became a histrionic rhetoric guy yelling and screaming about the political bosses who was
isaac and staff. at a certain point he realized he wasn't getting anything done because it was in reaching across to these other people. he said he realized he became a cropper and he had to learn to deal with people of all different classes. just as you said jacob reese became his good friend. originally he was against regulation because he was from outlaws a fair tradition. he saw the tenements and changed his mind and early on was for regulation. these reporters when he became police commissioner took him to where people were living in the middle of the night. what helped him a lot him a lot was he had so many different jobs and when he was in the roughriders he had a group of people with him. he kept his relationship with reporters who are much more involved in the nitty-gritty than he was. they were able to criticize him which was the key rather than becoming -- toward him. my favorite one is there was this guy's mr. dooley a famous
chicago bartender in a humorist column by peter dunn. in a review of the roughriders bookie said he put himself so much at the center of the action it's as if he were the only person in cuba. he should've called it alone in cuba. he said i regret to tell you that my wife and my entire family loved the review of your book. now you owe me one. come and meet me. through reporters and people like jacob reese he began to see the conditions of life. he later said my harvard buddies think my talks are too folksy and they are kind of homely but i know i'm reaching people because i now know those people. he took. trips months at a time going around the country and talking to people in village stations waiving to people. he would stand up in the middle of lunch. at one point he said he was waiting so much and his people seem so indifferent and it
turned out it was a herd of cows he was frantically waiving out. [laughter] something out to jar him away from that background just as fdr's polio transformed him. he suddenly was aware that fate dealt him an unkind hand and then he reached out to other people whom the same thing had happened. wilson did not believe in a great class structure in this country. he was from a lower middle-class presbyterian minister son. what he did believe however was the educated class. that was the class that mattered for him. as i said before this is the man who spent most of his life and career on a college campus as a student or professor or a president. this was the man who believed that was the great leveler of all playing fields in this country. so the interesting thing when wilson became a politician and it's a really fascinating tool that he used.
as a politician he never spoke down to the audience. he never got folksy. he always used rather elevated language. he spoke invariably without any notes. he would deliver an hour to an hour and have speech with a card with five bullets on it and speak in perfect sentences, heightened vocabulary. he could just do it. the fans loved it because they understood it. they felt elevated by it and woodrow wilson never look down on him. that was a wonderful thing for him. it was a great tool he used. as such i think he was pretty effective. >> lucky for roosevelt he did speak with notes. in 1912 when he was campaigning he had his 50 page speech in his pocket when an assassin shot him in the chest. he had to go to the hospital and the olive remained within him.
he still delivered this two-hour speech despite bleeding inside. because he had the pages of his speech in his pocket in a spectacle class a wind upward or it would have probably killed him on the spot. they had their own way of living and talking. speeches can save lives. [laughter] >> for mr. berg, the league of nations, i have heard he was so entrenched as an -- intransigent and i was wondering if you could reflect on that and i want to thank you. i am reading notes or -- no ordinary times. it's incredible. >> thank you. >> i was wondering and this is such a big question so choose whatever part you would like. either comparisons between t.r. and fdr, similarities,
dissimilarities, reflections and yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the killing of kennedy and how in the world do we get to campaign finance reform? everyone is so disheartened about where we are. what do you see in the future? thank you so much. >> i don't think this is in my job description, what i heard something about a the league of nations in there somewhere which woodrow wilson desperately wanted to have passed so we could fight the war that would end all wars. wilson was the transit gent for a couple of reasons. one of which he was a stubborn guy is a rule. when he was over in paris he was there for six months and the president of the united states left country for six months to negotiate his treaty. during that time especially toward the end when he was
saying gee i really have a country i need to get home to he began to make compromises, some small ones and one or two big compromises in the end. he came back and i think when he found the senate that would be completely unwilling to accept the treaty, that was the moment i think the curtain came down for wilson and he said i have not given away another thing. indeed this congressional battle went on for weeks which is what prompted his tour of the country. even after his stroke, after he had come home the battle is still going on in the senate. even though compromises were presented he would not buy them. the dean of the republican party and the head of the foreign relations party henry cabot lodge did come in with an 11th hour compromise which was a few sentences and largely syntactical. wilson simply would not buy it. so i feel it's a greek tragedy.
this is a man who did and just shoot himself in the foot. he truly stabbed himself in the heart. >> i think what that raises is when we live with these people for so long you really do end up caring about them so when they disappoint you, when they do things that you wish that they hadn't done, obviously i adored franklin roosevelt and eleanor and get wishing that fdr had opened the doors for more jewish refugees before hitler closed the doors forever. wishing that he had not in cars raided the japanese americans in balancing in end that he was the allied leader that won world war ii and ended the threat of adolf hitler the biggest threat to western civilization. even when i'm writing these books sometimes my kids said they have used the command and hear me. franklin just be nicer to eleanor. eleanor forget that affair that happened so long ago. similarly with theodore roosevelt while i have such
respect for his domestic policy and justice persona and his views on wars i have no respect for him. he was in the victors of war were greater than the victories apiece at any moment. he had their romanticization aboard. i have a son who graduated from harvard college in june of 01 and was going to go to law school. september 11 happened and he volunteered for the army the next stage. he got a bronze star and went back to afghanistan but importantly for this discussion he had written his thesis at harvard on theodore roosevelt. after he came back from combat he said he could never understand having been in combat how anyone could romanticize combat. there are times when you want to say stop, what's the matter with you? all human beings have their strengths and weaknesses and it's up to us to really not forget the part that is weak and bring it up. at the same time i could never choose somebody ultimately to
write about it that i overwhelm likely you want to be with. i could never write about hitler or stalin so luckily i found people who i feel for affection and liking for. when they do these things that disappoint you you feel like you know them and if you had been there you could have changed them. but you can't. >> this is an going to be the last word. we have been given a ten-minute reprieve so those who wanted to ask questions can come back and asked those questions. i want to get the chance of those people who were in line first the go-ahead, sir. >> my name is manny and i'm the executive producer of the forgotten hollywood book series. what an inspiration you both are to all authors in the room and to everybody at the fair. [applause] just a very simple question.
can you both speak to the importance of eugene debs in the election of 1912 regarding wilson, taft and roosevelt? >> well- >> 900,000 votes. did mighty well. he was extremely important and i think he was more than just paprika in the big stew of that election which was a really fascinating -- this was an election really of ideas and so much progressivism in the air. deb's becomes extremely important in wilson's life later on because he is one of those people who will be arrested under the wilson laws alien sedition laws for speaking seditious lee. debs when he was delivering a speech said i know i'm going to be rested for this and i have gone through the speech he gave at least 12, maybe 20 times. i keep looking for this edition
and i just can't ayn it. he was basically telling the people, some workers that this was the capitalist war in they did not have to be canon fodder in it. for that he was arrested and he was put in jail. he was found guilty and taken to the supreme court. they came against him 9-0. this will tell you a lot about woodrow wilson. the war is now over. woodrow wilson has had a stroke and is in the white house. he's about to leave the white house. people in his government, his attorney general who basically had put debs in jail come to him and said mr. president, debs is an old man that he is sick and he is served his time. the war is over. he's clearly not a danger any longer. here is the part where he set all you have to do is put your signature on it and roosevelt pulled out a pen and wrote tonight.
you didn't cross wilson more than and it was simply because wilson felt once we have gone to war that sort of speech telling people not to go to war, that was sedition to him. he said as long as i'm in charge of 2 million people losing their lives i cannot let anybody speak out against them. >> you answer part of the question when he said nobody is perfect. i have written a book called america's original series ended deals with two progressives. and their relationship with race. both of them had very poor records in my estimation. you mentioned t.r. and the roughriders. in fact they could be very easily called teddy roosevelt and the buffalo soldiers are. [inaudible] woodrow wilson numbers of years he wanted to go back
preconstruction. can you comment on each of those? >> i agree. theodore roosevelt at one point had a symbolic gesture where he had invited booker t. washington to dinner and it produced such outrage in the south and in other parts of the country that there was this a quality of a social relationship that he backs down i think. but he also held in. list attitudes, racist attitudes. these people are men unfortunately other generation. his record on race, there was a riot in brownsville and a group of blacks who were then arrested because they couldn't figure out who started it. he was wrong and these are those moments. you are absolutely right when all that you can say is that you have to remember the context in which they are leaving. even abraham lincoln in the 18 50's was against obviously against intermarriage and he was
against blacks sitting on juries. he said how could lincoln have done this? the important thing is he grew from those attitudes and he eventually allowed the blacks to come in. they were so important as soldiers in the army better change the whole course of the war in many ways and of course he issued the emancipation proclamation. there is no answering for them except to pave the context in which they are ruling and see if they are way behind the context or in the middle or sometimes if you are lucky the person you are dealing with is ahead of that time. >> this is such a magnificent high-level conversation. i want to go to a moment of history and passion at a different level and that is, what did it feel to you like at fenway park? [laughter] >> it i will tell you having been a passionatpassionat e facebook fama my life and having only experienced one victory with a brooklyn dodgers in 1955.
[applause] and then obviously i chose another team after the dodgers abandoned us and went to california. i went to harvard and i chose almost like falling in love again with the boston red sox and had all those years where we lost and we lost and almost one lecter bricklin's overtures. we have these season tickets to the games so we were at every game every playoff, every division. to be in our town and see them winning and share it with austin, that is what's so great about baseball. somebody asked me what would you have done if the dodgers have been against the red sox? how would you have dealt with a divided loyalty? i thought about it and my answer was that the dodgers were my first love. my father growing up in brooklyn taught me how to keep score. that is where my love of history began when i was able to record the history of that afternoon's brooklyn dodger game going every
single play in excruciating detail. he made me feel i was telling them if they're below story. so too i had a first love of a boyfriend before i married my husband. the boston red sox have been my sustaining love for almost 40 years and i've been married to my husband for 38 years. the boston red sox are my love now. [applause] >> we have time for one more. >> i have to tell you something real quick doris. i didn't know you had your co-authors here. baseball and my love for your writing and all that you done i feel that you're the tim russert of "the today show." >> you couldn't get me a better compliment than that. i loved him so much. >> you were able to speak to us and we all could understand -- baseball.
my wife and my date was a game and our first date was the clinton in the games when they pitched a perfect game. >> and you are still married. >> oh yeah. we have this great thing that we have every summer. it starts at 10:30 at night. my gift to you is a hat. >> it's beautiful. thank you so much. >> an invitation to you if you would like to come to a midnight baseball game. june 21, every year. >> oh i see. thank you, thank you. i would happily wear the hat. [applause] >> any closing comments for our historians? ..