tv Book Discussion on West of the Revolution CSPAN July 27, 2014 11:03pm-12:01am EDT
it's glad to see you all here. i promise to keep my feet rooted right here behind the podium. if you see me wandering stage right weight your hands and make a signal and i will return to the podium as quickly as i can. i have some amazing videos in which we were panning and zooming about the globe. you are not going to see those tonight apparently. they didn't have the latest version of the powerpoint, and so we will see some stills nonetheless which i hope will keep your attention. we are going to talk about 1976 and this was a trying year for
the revolutionaries and of the 13 british mainland colonies of the ragtag continental army scored a victory in march of 1776 when the british drew from boston, but the success was short-lived. the invasion of canada and the disaster largely because the smallpox epidemic that eventually crossed the continent. then they drove the troops from new york and in the final months in the year they just missed the story in it for good and ending the revolutionary cause. they were against the 32,000 british troops in north america alone into the most powerful navy in the world. then on christmas during the turn back into new jersey they
crossed the delaware river on a cold snowy night and they converged on to printed new jersey where the mercenaries were sleeping off at night in the festivities. they captured the inside regimen and this was a stunning victory that raised morale at a critical time for the colonies. so you know the story already. most of you have read the wonderful account which is a page turner and you've probably seen this iconic painting that was done by emmanuelle in the 1850s, so this is a story that we know has been told many, many times. today i want to explore the other parts of the continent in 1776. most of us are familiar with the war on the north american seaboard but not with the formative event occurring
elsewhere. so why is this the case? i grew up in san francisco so this is 2500 miles from boston in the revolution. san francisco did not even exist when the british soldiers and american minutemen met in the battle of the lexington and concord in 1775. in late june 1776 before congress approved the declaration of independence on the san francisco peninsula this is now they're all of the employees on facebook and google live in the mission district. the first colonial settlement in san francisco. in the pacific coast i will give you a couple of examples of this. on the russian river north of the city i'm embarrassed to admit i puzzled over the name
with the rushing rivers and fast waters or the rushing river in the evil empire that we were fighting in the 1970s and 1980s and conjured up images as some of you probably rememb remember. they had nothing to do with the place i grew up in and it seemed implausible for a second reason and that is although it sounded like they said russian as an russia and it made perfect sense to drop the final g. and that's because i left out a critical detail. at the time i modeled myself after multiple status. i was a trumpet player and still am and i loved it the first great quintet.
i was used to dropping my final. of course i was mistaken about this in the southernmost outpost in north america which was established in 1812. the second piece of evidence in favor of my ignorance when i was in the bicentennial of the united states i was delighted to go on a field trip to see the world's largest birthday cake which was illustrated with scenes from the american revolution and he had been tracked across the continent in the san francisco. we didn't exaggerate the size in fact it was even larger and more impressive and as i recalled it
was three tier and you won't be leaving until you see it. let's back out to another extra symbolizing san francisco and rising out of the ashes of the 1906 earthquake. you can see why this would make a deep impression on the mind and 8-year-old. the monstrosity never crossed the continent and the 18 panels did not illustrate the revolution as i had remembered. the case was made by a local chef to celebrate their own bicentennial and instead it commemorated events from the city's history beginning with francis drake including the arrival of the spanish impressions so san francisco's
history was at such odds with the narrative being celebrated for the national bicentennial that might force a great imagination turned the cake into a tribute to the events on the east coast in boston, philadelphia and elsewhere. these misconceptions this is embarrassing to me that it suggests i didn't pay enough attention in school at the time but it's also symptomatic of a broader phenomena we are phenome generally unfamiliar with the history of the continent beyond the 13 british colonies that formed. so it is high time to head west. we are going to start and here was one of those amazing
animated videos i was describing but you won't see any animation. we are actually here about the river that's paris probably 30,000 feet high and it was here in the hotel. among the numerous stipulations in the treaty and this was one that divided north america down the mississippi river giving the western house to france and the eastern half to britain and francfrance in turn immediatelyd its claims to the house with the continent to spain. so the effectiveness is that the continent was divided down the mississippi with britain holding the title at least as far as the
powers were concerned to the entire eastern half and spain holding the title to the entire western half. and you can see the line here i belief. so this is paris. maybe you can make out this red line. that is the mississippi. and this is the border. what i like about this illustration is that you really get a sense of just how remote paris is from the mississippi and it was far more remote than it is today. and it suggests to us which is the case that these diplomats were working in ignorance. the knew next to nothing. they famously confused the mississippi river with the
gamgee's and he was right about one thing there were indians on the banks of both of the rivers. so this international border dividing the continent have all kinds of problems. the british thought by making such a clear line to break down the middle of this enormous river that the border would forestall all of the disputes. i have a photograph and you have all seen close-ups of the mississippi river and how serpentine is today. i had announced a photograph showing that he wil that we wilt see because of the animation. but it was even more serpentine in the 18th century. this is after the century of the army corps of engineers trying to string then the mississippi and it was a complete mess.
and as mark twain once observed, the riverplace havoc was boundary lines and jurisdiction. it's a terrible way to divide the continent in house. on the face of it to the claims of the monarchs to the domains were absurd. they have no mor more right and title to the continent into the empire of china. they unfolded in the 1770s. the fortunes of people along the mississippi river rose and fell as a result of the land transfers negotiated by in different aristocrats in a faraway paris. this is officially being published on monday, but is
available now i describe how this border flooded the canadian prairies with traders so this is what we would call today in emerging markets. they had title to this new claim and franc friends and the vast f the continent that it hadn't been able to work at all until 1763. as it was suddenly flooded with traders. they create, destroy and modify how habitat. one has actually made the point but until relativelthat until ry
about 10,000 years ago the changes surpass those and in fact they have been raised by. so they were flooded with british traders and the entire are transformed in ways that are truly revolutionary and i won't go into any further detail here but i do describe this transformation in the book and i also explore in that account they built an entire south of the missouri river-based largely on the contraband trade across the mississippi. and this is as thomas jefferson observed in 1804. he was writing a letter to his secretary of the navy and he
said they are the greatest nation south of the missouri. jefferson explained we must stand because in the quarter we as the united states are miserably weak. i also describe how they pushed the indians in the deep south to seek alliance with the spanish in cuba and this was at the same time as ben franklin was undertaking that a diplomatic mission to paris on behalf of the 13 british colonies. it lives in present-day georgia and alabama and sailed to havana to meet with the captain general and they have this incredibly forward-looking proposal they ask the captain general to give them a schooner that they would navigate between the gulf coast and havana to carry on the trade and with profits of the trade of a payback for captain general and supply cuba's growing slave
plantations with beef and assaulted fish, which they had plenty. i had a cherokee friend but always laughs at the story because they knew nothing about crossing the street between florida and cuba and how they were going to manage. it's the fastest growing slave colony in the world which raises all kinds of interesting what if questions. let's look in more detail at the fourth consequences of the treaty and that is of the black hills by the people and in discovery i use that word because that is what they use at least. they've kept records of their
history with the winter counts in english marking each year the passage of time. they were originally paper so this is the winter counts kept by the lakota and he wrote this down in the 1880s at the request of an american army officer anarmyofficer and it isr date the army officer someone else went back and started with the most recent illustration which you don't see here and started counting backwards marking the years and when he got back to year number one the beginning of this particular history at least in 1776 this is when washington captured boston
and thomas payne wrote common sense when congress declared independence as we know. it is also standing boy discovered the black hills. so the two nations were born that year. what do the diplomats in paris have to do with this? you will recall that they were in possession of the swath of the continent at least on paper. and as though the present-day pittsburgh northwest to fort detroit and the garrison commanders began to treat the local indians like subordinate. one wrote to the british troops. victory wherever they advanced into the habit driven the armies of both the french and nato e. for them so every imperialist was convinced that britain ought to have its way.
they became known as rhode -- rebellions. the commander of the british forces was stationed by the way a few blocks from us in the battery and struggled to understand about events occurring in the ohio country and this is a man that had never been further west. this day even in contempt for americans it didn't matter whether they were native americans were colonists who had moved from britain and he detested them. he said try any other that can
serve to extricate this race. while they disrupted the trade networks in the country well into the 1770s and they left many native people including the lakota is and the textiles and the firearms and the like so one solution to the dilemma is to double the efforts to connect with the atlantic trade and some in fact did this. there was a dakota leader that was of the three divisions of the dakotas of the eastern most of there was a dakota that journey all the way to montréal in 1776 when he met with the british governor and then and joy at his dinner and this is part two reconnecting the trade networks. but there was a second solution and this one was pursued by the lakota is that this was the
western part of the divisions. and if so they turned away from the atlantic trade and began to move west. they were originally based and of living in present-day western minnesota. they migrated there in the 18th century. they encountered those that were set to extend for hundreds and hundreds of miles. now, there were many push and pull factors involved in this great migration, no doubt. but also one very important factor was the unreliability of the atlantic trade and then with this treaty in 1763 which in
turn caused the war and descriptive trade into the 1770s. so then, as we know in 1775 and 1776, they've reached and discovered the black hills. this is a massive rainfall in the great plains into the darker area here received more rainfall in the lighter areas received less rainfall and you can see this obvious pattern and as you move west there is less rain. rain is strictly correlated with the short grass production that is rectally correlated with bison, so the more bison. if you go too far east, around here is you get old grass and icing don't like those if you're going to be looking for bison in the 18th century, look at this oasis in the great plains into the black hills.
they recognize this value as well read are in the 19th centuries. they said there is more gold. this is one of their expressions. there is more gold in the roots on up in other words forget about those that we are mining in the black hills. there were lots and lots in the 18th century. later the black hills became sacred to the lakota is the first place created on the world's surface, they say. and at that point from which the people emerge. in 1870s, so a century after they discovered that united states seized control of the black hills. then in the early 20th century, they sued and there was an
extended lawsuit and they were eventually successful in the 1981980s they were awarded by te supreme court. but this said i am touched to this day in the account. but the descendents are holding out for the return of the black hills themselves so this is a legacy of 1776 which is still with us today. this is one section. this is where the river enters the mississippi and you can just see how serpentine it is and when there are flies you get these other waterways that
philip and it's certainly not a clear border or a good way to define the continent. but we are going to zoom out now from the mississippi river and moved further west. we are getting ahead of ourselves. we are not going to be able to see it. we are going to move further west and i will leave you with this cute picture. here we could use a map because we are going to move so far else we are going to be harboring over the pacific ocean now because we left north america behind you can see alaska and the northeastern corner of the globe and then on the western side, you see siberia and then
at the southern use the kiosk which you can find on google earth today. it is today on the border between russia and mongolia and there is very little player. there are crumbling monuments and those have probably been torn down by now some russian orthodox churches, very little there. it's remote and its dusty. but in the 18th century, this was an extraordinarily important place by the terms of the treaty and the trade between the russian and chinese empires had to pass through this tiny little town. china had an insatiable appetite at first by the high value into the low value squirrels in siberia but by the mid-17 hundreds they made their way to
the eastern coast and then crossed over the bering strait in the early 1740s and discovered and reached the islands and there they found the sea otters, the beautiful animals that you see here and they refer to them as soft gold because their posts were so valuable and in demand by the royalty in the chinese court. sea otters possess the dentist for any animal with an estimated million hairs per square inch. that is two or three times that of the seal and of your pet dog. so by the worsening the hunters and that is the native peoples of the island they slaughtered these animals by the tens of thousands and ship them across the pacific ocean to the eastern
edge of siberia and then send them overland to the river and eventually, they put them in warehouses and fooled into traders where he eventually they lined the roads of the chinese royalty. this will help orient. here you can see the illusions. amazingly this trade was insufficient to meet the demand so there was a separate new world american trade network originating 3,000 miles to the east that carried beaver furs as
we've already waited too earlier across the atlantic. so starting here in the prairies and in the forest of canada they hunted these animals and sold them to the british traders who brought them to the hudson bay or to montréal or new york and eventually they were packed into ships and brought to london and then amazingly enough at the peak time 30,000 were repacked and exported to st. petersburg and put on a slide and carried all the way across siberia and then put in the same warehouses with the new world cousins, the sea otter. and this amazes me every time. i've done this for many years and it amazes me every time i described this. it's an outstanding example of the international trade in the
18th century. so the profits from the trade led traders up the peninsula to alaska. that i think the largest of the islands they reached in the 1770s. they set off alarm bells in the european capitals. this was an understatement, a very murky understanding of what it looked like in the 18th century. let's see. there we are. this is a map originally dating to 1758 but this one was printed in the 1784. this was by th the best intelligence that european euroe to work withi with in the 1780sd it's possible the russian court -- almost certainly the russian court do better than this but cartography into the secrets
where it is closely guarded as the secrets are today so the russians certainly were holding this information close, and in spain and england this is what they had to work with. is it, the captain when he explored this part of the world of the third voyage and this is the map he had with him to try to figure out where he was going. and it's almost comically bad. in fact he's famously reserved if you read through his journa journals. look at this. they didn't know where exactly were they no one really knew for sure. so they were ignorant, but they had the room and the russians were somewhere in alaska. what did that mean? did it threaten the positions in
the pacific? and of the rumors started flooding into the court and a number of these were penned by the irish extraction but born and raised in barcelona and became the ambassador to russia said he was stationed in st. petersburg and he possessed this wonderful imagination thatt aided him in exaggerating the threat to send back to these reports saying that they had been standing with one of the admirals before the map of the world and was pointing to russia or rather pointing to alaska and said that we are going to conquer north america and cross into alaska and conquer north america. he said other reports saying they are going to round africa and across through polynesia and then across the pacific and take
the spanish possessions that way. there was another possibility they would work their way down the west coast and reach one of those in the southwest in new mexico or northern mexico and discharge its waters into the pacific ocean. but the spanish didn't know that. unfortunately they are anxiety was proportional to their ignorance.
in the pacific coast that was transformed in the 1770s and it now seemed imperative to spain to colonize out to california as opposed to the already had the presence comes to that is present-day california in the state of california. the first step occurred in 17699 when they established a foothold in california. in november of 1775, the local people banded together to dispel the invaders. this was a lost cause. they spend the next year a resting and torturing suspects. one of the more remarkable figures come and this is someone i described in some detail in the book was a young man who was the first person baptized in san
diego and was given the name diego. he was accused by the spanish of using his wednesday in the language to aid the revolutionaries and so the spanish and present him and interrogated him and even tortured him back to the end, he never confessed exactly what his role is in this failed revolution. the franciscan missionary that oversaw the enterprise in california wrote in a letter he said at the beginning diego had up in a special favorite of mine, but he turned traitor in the revolution. he was too sick to walk and near-death and he died in september that year and was buried in the church cemetery. he was 25-years-old at the time. so this is step number one. a few years later the spanish
explorers stumbled across the great river that fed into san francisco bay. and they concluded that it probably had its waters in new mexico. they were, again mistaken but this was enough to prompt the spanish polymerization in the san francisco bay so in jun june 1776 they arrested attempting to set up a portable altar not far from the center of san francisco. the impact on the local residents was tremendous to describe the new world, local people's coast be needed to borrow words from the colonist language. work, rifle, soldiers. this is an illustration of san francisco from 1816 in here it
is in the background to the golden gate bridge that would be right here and this gives the sense of just how the world was transformed into an see here the number of the native people being marched off to work in the fields under the eye of a mounted spanish soldier. the impact on the local residents was tremendous and it set off a demographic cataclysm that raged across the land wiping out the villages first and in order destroying the situated. the russia russian front rows re created in land as well. spain had to supply the new pacific coast, the moderate for san francisco, san diego and eventually los angeles. one possibility was to sail up the coast from mexico. but that the spanish ships
against the wind and the current sort of battle that they often lost. so sometime in rich respect it is comical but if you were on one of the ships they would spend several weeks heading up to monterey and then they would be able to enter against the prevailing wind and eventually it would slip all the way back to california. so the solution as it was decided was to blaze a trail from santa fe new mexico over to monterey california. that is a thousand miles away. so they would have to traverse the high lands of the colorado plateau across the vast bearings of the great basin and scale and defended the sierra adventure through california san joaquin valley and finally reached the destination on the pacific coast. the problem is not a single one of these features appear on the map and in fact no european had ever set foot in this area.
that is until this extraordinary mission. these are the precursors to the lewis and clark. so not surprisingly they didn't reach their intended destination but nevertheless they undertook this 15-mile journey and they left in july of 1770 and arrived back in santa fe so basically the four corners region in the colorado river and the grand canyon and brought back to santa fe about six months later right at the end of 1776. this journey have long-lasting consequences for the nation in the same year in philadelphia. one of the people was a man named bernard who was an artist and cartographer and he produced this beautiful map is about 3 feet wide and 2 feet high and the illustrations it is a work
of art, but it contains some serious geographic errors that the guy old at the americans for generations. it had two large rivers that led from utah one of them drained the great salt lake is led from utah and presumably all the way to the pacific coast so finally these were the rive rivers thate colonists had been looking for for generations and generations because now they could go up the mississippi river, the red river or the arkansas river had left and then there would be some small over land area and eventually they could get into the headwaters of these rivers and then get all the way to the pacific coast still facilitating the northwest atlantic trade. but eventually we built the pen off now to facilitate the trade and the bank of the 18th century the colonists are desperately looking for a passageways that here they were appearing on this
map and they were copied by thay american cartographers in the 1780s and 90s and in the first decade of the 19th century they appeared on the american maps into the 1840s. so as a result when the first wagon train south in 1841 the immigrants were actually advised to bring tools to construct canoes. if the going got rough, they were told, they could always defend ondescend one of the gres to the california coast. okay. so now let's return to the illusions into the sea otter trade that sent off this great chain reaction that transformed the west coast. it demands extraordinary skill and a specialized technology and they possessed neither so be expertise of the local residents was indispensable. most of us would call this a
kayak. it allowed them to hunt down the sea otters. this is just one of many examples i could give you that just notice this is split and it allows us to move much faster through the waters than it otherwise would. it's developed at this innovation they were the first people to do so into you can find the same thing on the container ships today in that area that sticks out at the scene level if you have ever seen the container ships. so this is the innovation. the russian traders seized the hostages and when necessary destroy the towns. this is one story that he practiced.
by the time they left the island to return in 1775, this was a month after the shot heard around the world marked the beginning of the american revolution they had only partially conquered the alley but to continue the incursions by the outsiders, they made it impossible for them to maintain their for much longer. when captain james cook arrived in 1778 on the third and final voyage, one of the crew have observed the russian traders denounced the americans, the word he used, denounced the americans as salvage those for defending themselves and driving off the invader preserving the native freedom and he couldn't resist us as british compatriots. by this he would see the efforts for liberty are not confined only to the east side of the continent.
okay let me just spend a couple seconds reflecting briefly on america west of the revolution. to the mississippi river as well as in bridgend while export economy's 18th century americans confronted the revolutionary challenges. these were sometimes diffuse forces but they were always powerful, unmanageable and often beyond the comprehension of participants. the fortunes of americans across the continent depended on international trade networks on trading partners halfway around the world and often these trading partners on opposite ends of the supply chains had no knowledge of each other and you can pick up the example of their royalty in the chinese courts. likewise they struggled to manage environmental change banishing food supplies in
california, dwindling beaver in the canadian prairie which set off a cascade of ecological consequences. and everywhere foreign microbes. the founding fathers courageously declared their independence in 1776 but we recognize today that we are not independent but we are unavoidably and always interdependent as for our north american forebears. our fortunes depend on the markets and our house on a profusion of microscopic iota from our food security on climate change. those shape our lives in profound and unpredictable ways. we face with most west of the revolution face in the 1770s. so let me stop there and i look
forward to taking your questions. [applause] [inaudible] the question was in the treaty of 631 of the many treaties why did the spanish end up with this west of the mississippi river? while, it was france by the terms of the treaty but they made a separate treaty even before the treaty of paris and the separate treaty was to see the possessions and the reason was they thought that this land was not profitable and it was quite costly and it drained the
french treasury. that had been their experience with louisiana over the previous several decades so they wanted to cut their losses and then there was also i think a sense that they needed to prompt spain to go along with this treaty and the first place but at the time in the 1770s, they were not giving up land that was worth much at all. it's connected they have any idea [inaudible] that is divided equally? that is a great question and some of you probably read this book on the longitude and the difficulty that not just europeans but everyone had measuring until well into the 18th century so they didn't really have a sense of how much
was out there you are right about that. they didn't know how extensive it was or what kind of features would be found. were there rivers were great lakes or mountains as they pointed out? they had no idea. so they were largely clueless and ignorant trust backed, napoleon for example later developed the plans as a part of the world and that didn't go well for him. but in rich respect i'm sure that they regretted it. yes? how did this affect the american revolution? >> it is separate and that is what is so interesting about this to me is the american colonies, the populated areas of the american colonies occupied about 4% of the continent, about
8% of the now lower 48 states. you may have seen on these maps are virginia runs the line all the way to the pacific coast and they don't know where it is but they draw a straight line on the line of latitude until it runs in the pacific ocean so they have made these claims but in practice, the american revolution is effectively a tiny fraction of the continent at the present day united states and that is what is fascinating to me. we have these events but we all know so well occurring on the east coast with the colonies that are pressed against the atlantic seaboard in all these other things going on
[inaudible] >> that is a good question. and i would say perhaps a author or sea lion but i can't say for sure. >> they had these beautifully handcrafted visors that part of the technology that they developed so they had this waterproof to keep the water off of them and they could see when they were hunting and from the sun's glare. you do not get a sense from the illustration but they are painted just beautifully to represent sometimes wor orca bio
represent some sort of a sea creature. yes? >> i'm curious about the relationship and the spanish they had to get back to the french and then 1803. the relationship of tha that ans the width of the spanish and the southeast missions and trying to figure out where the boundary is it seems like there is a connection.
>> [inaudible] it [inaudible] >> this is an excellent point. one of the chapters in the book that i mentioned the people that were in present-day alabama and georgia it is just along the savanna river and it is owned by native people and then you have the spanish presence that raises all kinds of interesting
dynamics, so what happens in 63 is that the spanish are pushed down and leave their foothold temporarily for about 20 years because this changes but they leave their foothold in the southeast and the changes the economic equation for the native peoples because now they only have one trading partner and in the past they had the french and spanish anthe spanish and the bd that is a good place to be if you are in the business of selling deerskin. posted 1763 you just have the british and they recognize what a threat this is to their independence so what do you do about that they actually go to havana where the spanish are into the lacunae to reestablish of these connections. succumbing you're absolutely right about them. one thing i like to point out when we think about the history
of the south, the first thing that americans think of when i see geeks how come it's going to be the antebellum slavery and the civil war. but most of the deep south is in the indian country. up until about 40 years, even 40 years before the outbreak of the civil war it is the indian country, montgomery alabama is indian country in 1820. so our history when we start to think of our american history in the south and this is true everywhere but when we think about it in the south, it's -- at the sands have much depth to it so you are right about this >> they did come into contact with each other eventually end
there are even accounts because again the russians are depending on their skills. they bring them all the way down to san francisco and i think the account is maybe 1804 so here are the spanish watching them slide down in the search of sea otters it's extraordinary and in fact they show up even further south and they go as far south as california. >> of the invasion of canada. when did that happen and whose idea was it? >> this is in 1776 and yes it is a little bit of a -- they couldn't have anticipated the smallpox epidemic which really
devastated american troops and this is an interesting story in and of itself there is a great book about this written by my friend elizabeth called americana and i highly recommend it to you. putting aside military strategy and the strength of the troops and the supply line into the rest of it, the smallpox epidemic when they march north and they brought this virus with them and when they were camped, the virus wiped them out so there is a critical moment in the war where george washington makes this decision to vaccinate, to inoculate his troops and it is -- it probably saved the war. it's risky because when you inoculate, you're not using a dead virus. and if someone who is suffering from the mild form of this