tv Book Discussion on Madisons Hand CSPAN February 7, 2016 6:30am-7:31am EST
it to reconstitute itself. that's irresistible. it has james madison's face on it. the idea that in the summer of 1787 they knew they were writing the constitution they had no idea about that. not let the convention thinking the constitution might not get to congress nevermind being ratified. so only over time slowly does it become apparent what they did that summer was enormously
important. madison gradually begins to realize he participated in something really important. not only that but he has these complete notes. one thing i think we often don't realize is that the day they are celebrating today, the bill of rights today, is really a very important part of that story. madison is singularly it's possible for the bill of rights. he gets elected on a campaign promise that he will push through the amendments that include what we know today as the bill of rights. i think is one of the few american politicians to fulfill his campaign promise. he gets the first -- it's a pretty big promise. he gets to the first congress and everybody tells of we don't need to do that. we don't need to get those amendments done. the constitution wasn't condition on those amendments.
we need to do more important things, said the government up. madison the most everybody by saying no, we need to amend the constitution. south pole first summer he pushes down the constitution amended. when madison wanted to amend the constitution he wanted the rights to be interwoven into the original document. that is, he thought the way you would do it is you would look at the constitution actually actually revise it. cost of the parts you didn't agree with, but the new language and. when he proposed this they don't have blood which parts they were going to be. roger sherman stands up and says i think that's a terrible idea. he says it will be confusing to people. so the bigger back and forth and roger sherman wins. roger sherman persuades everyone the way they will amend the constitution is the way we amended. believe the text of what was written in 1787 impact but the
amendments within just be listed at the end. that's the way we see the constitution today. i believe until they did that it wasn't obvious that what happened in 1787 would be so bored. if we continue to amend the constitution by writing the text in, what people have done in 1787 versus what had changed later would not be so obvious. partly it's the unending with the bill of rights that make the constitution move so important. >> how different are the notes new the end of his life that had a look at the time he was taking a? >> as he got older and older he realized that words have changed. one of my favorites is the very first day of the notes, he says, the very first day, in philadelphia and he says because we're going to revise the federal constitution. because he thought the articles of confederation was a
constitution and is going to revise the federal constitution. once you call that thing on this point guard the constitution, you can take constitution with respect to the old work. he crosses the constitution because that's now become confusing and he puts in system of government. that's a very late change we can date that change. madison makes his notes read as if it was a system of government, and then there was a constitution. that's why we call this the national constitution center. we don't call it a national second constitution center or something increasing like that. madison realizes 1787 was his radical break in american history. he makes a number of those changes. one of the things that haunts him at the end of his life was the virginia two in an extremely bad mood in the middle of july. voted for president without tenure. that is you would elect a
president and the president would serve until he was impeached. figure how you would like that. depends on probably who your president is. the virginians voted for the. that's the thing you don't really love on the record but you couldn't change it because you knew there was a vote count out of there. he starts writing explanations, that this was just a procedural thing. he replaces the page and writes an explanation in the footnotes. as he gets older he writes another explanation. then he writes an explanation on the margin. at the point where his handwriting was so shaky as an elderly man that he could write himself, he has his wife's brother add another explanation to the explanation. so that page out of all the pages is just literally curves around like this with explanation upon explanation. that they didn't really want but
it just seemed at the time to be a good idea. >> madison isn't, i think -- >> is not a good loser. >> what are some of things he lost? >> he fought the senate the way we have it conceded it was a disaster. he laughed, he wrote coming so said the state said equal representation. it just devastated him. he thought that the state was an incoherent concept, he thought it was a terrible idea, and he really thought it was a terrible idea. even after he repeatedly lost if i was a terrible idea. he records in his notes the connecticut delegation which had been counting and was british or the senate would end up representing the states, said don't push this too far. madison kept saying i don't
care, i'm pushing this reform. so he was devastated by state suffrage. he comes around to the. he decides that the current federal system isn't such a bad idea. he also desperately wanted congress to be able to veto all the laws of the states. we call about the negative is the concept that fell out. it was based on the british model. he thought if you could veto all the laws of the states, many would be hard to be a national government because the state could have whatever law they wanted. they wouldn't all be uniform. he wanted congress to be given the power. the convention agreed with them and then decided it was a bad idea. that's our debate is held by the supreme court. but madison thought that was a disaster that the states would be completely out of control and he left the convention very sad that that peace was informed.
he was quite happy with the fact the national government had been given power in areas where he wanted an informative. he was delighted with that, but he lost. he was kind of a poor loser and he's only 35, 36. you have to give them a little bit of a break. but as he got older he became very much a great supporter of the constitution. >> given the fact his notes are the most comprehensive, arthur people perhaps who had a bigger role in the shaping of the constitution and his notes reflect? who innocents are the losers because of his notes? >> they're sort of a good person and i suppose a person complicated. the consultative person would be charles pinckney who's a huge slaveholder, determined that slavery would be just completely embedded in the constitution. his cousin, general paint me,
only speaks to ensure that slavery lives forever. madison scored those sections up, black them out so completely that you can't read them. if i ever get a second chance at the library of congress, the equipment that could read those. maybe you guys can persuade the library to use their special technology and we does. but me is given a much smaller role than he had. the person was also given a smaller role than i think is more fortune is governor morris of pennsylvania. morris fascinated madison. morris was a fascinating figure in all sorts of the specs, but he spoke passionately against labor. he's the person who probably spoke the most passionately against slavery, and he in some ways predicts the civil war.
he says that this division between north and south, between places in slavery and not having slavery, that is a fundamental problem. and madison writes that speech down but doesn't give morris a lot of credit along the way. late in his life in his 80s, madison grew more understanding of what had happened at the convention. madison eventually says that the person who really wrote the final constitution was morris. the last draft of the constitution looks the way we understand the constitution with seven major articles. the draft before the had 22 articles. the constitution didn't look anything like how we understand it. madison late in his life says it was a morris who basically took all these disparate sections and
recruit them into the way we understand the constitution. >> we also didn't think of the folks at the constitutional convention as the framers. did they have a view on whether or not the notes in the sense of the transcription of the convention should be kept confidential or private forever, or not? did they have a consensus on that? >> this is one of the things i completely disagree with. there's a great myth that the convention was supposed to be secret forever, and it was, they didn't allow the public in at the time. that actually wasn't unusual when it's an open its doors in the new government, the senate doesn't allow anyone to come in either. only in the 1790s does it finally change its view that actually people should be able to get its deliberations. so i argue in the book that no one at the time thought the convention's records should be secret forever. they just thought it should be
secret that some in order to allow people to deliberate without it being reported in the press all the time. the notes themselves, the official record, the official journal, i think a number of people assumed would be published shortly thereafter. it becomes controversial between madison and jefferson and washington about the official journal because it involved, they disagreements about what the convention thought in terms of treaties. so in the 1790s in the midst of an enormous fight between president washington and jefferson and madison and hamilton and washington on one side, and madison and jefferson on the other, washington takes the official journal and he goes down and deposits it in the state department. then only after it has been deposited and recorded and precisely how many pages and one page was loose, does washington
go and say i have deposited the official journal safely in government archives. madison writes to jefferson, what's he doing? this is crazy. but then because of that the government owns the journal and the journal is published. but at the time they managed to get the kind of quiet. >> we have some excellent questions from the audience. as a law professor i can tell you they are incredibly legible. slot want to thank all of you for the. i like madison's notes. here's one. talk about the relationship between madison and hamilton. >> sort of hamilton's revenge he gets unmusical, and madison doesn't. i think at the convention they were fascinated with each other. they both were incredibly interested in the major problem that young political leaders
thought was interesting, they can tell the united states was going to be a very large country. but they couldn't figure out could you govern a large country using a republican structure. they were both interested in that. all of the great european thinkers since the time of greece and rome had said that wouldn't work, that would not be successful, that if you made the republic very large it would collapse. madison and hamilton were both fascinated with the idea how would you create a very large country using what we think of as a democracy, what they thought of as republic, and have it survive. they were deeply, deeply fascinated with each other. madison records things that i think had hamilton known what is going to do with them he would not have allowed them i think you're close to the convention. emended jefferson gets back, madison joins jefferson in disliking hamilton intensely,
and really becomes very swept up in jefferson's obsession. jefferson was obsessed with hamilton. there's a great set of secret note to jefferson keeps what he spends all his time recording how he was trying to to washington how sneaky hamilton was a indie records washington and responsive. you feel so bad for washington because he's president. he's got all these people in his cabinet, and jefferson keeps showing up. hamilton said this. hamilton is like no, i didn't say that. all kinds of -- they were once very close and the not so close. >> it is a good thing he gets a musical because the $10 bill. >> madison is not on any major going. he wins again. >> is another question. originally the were more commitments than 10 of course. what were some of the others
speak with there's a great trivia about the constitution. one thing that everybody realizes is that, well, madison had a lot of amendments and their window down to be 12 and to send out to the states is 12 amendments. which is what we think of as our first amendment was actually the third amendment. you configure whether you think would be as important if it was the third, like i third amendment right to speak. that doesn't sound so good the third amendment is soldiers. the first to amendments drop out. they both involve congress. one of them is the eventually we ratified 100 years later as what, the 20 some.
so we only get the 10 amendments. what's interesting is although we think of it as the bill of rights, a lot of people who write on this nail have shown that at the time they didn't call it the bill of rights. to amendments really only began to be thought of as the bill of rights in the last hundred years. to our notion that the first 10 amendments belong together is very much part of the 20th century. >> what were some of the other options on slavery that madison left out of his nose? >> madison had in my might i completely crazy idea. slavery isn't that five times in the constitution. never once using the word slave. two of those involved compromise, the notion that people who held enslaved would give white people from the state more political power in a ratio of three to five.
madison suggested that one house represent three inhabitants and one house represents basically all the population, including all of the enslaved people on a one-to-one ratio. this would have not only embedded slavery completely deeply into american government, but it would have given the virginians power beyond anything you could imagine. so it would have really significantly altered the way the government worked. >> they still dominated of the presidency early on. on. >> right. at the virginians if you count like who is the president, if washington, virginia, then for a brief moment, massachusetts gets
it with adams and that goes back down to the virginians. if you look at studies of the early presidents and the supreme court and later congress, is a southern slaveholder was president i think something like two-thirds of the time ahead of the supreme court. so that southern slavery block doesn't dominate early. >> do any notes by others conflict with madison on any major issue speak with a lot of the notes conflict. one of the fun things i do when i teach this is i have people look at a different set of notes and we compare them. other people, i personally think other people wrote more fun notes. madison converted, he was sort of almost scared of emotion or something. all of the notes get into the emotion end of the tables that are often written in first person and to describe when
people get mad. you can take places where people said gary crazy, mad things and then you can go read madison's notes and madison notes sound like anyone is calmly debating things. they disagree on that. they also disagree on what madison wrote about himself. madison wrote his own speeches. it's very hard to take notes while you were talking. if i were to take no to what i said today, first of all i would've always had really thinks of it would all be completely coherent and they would have no -- they bear some resembles two of the people recorded but they are always much more coherent, very thoughtful. they follow nicely. and so his own version of himself and what others heard were quite different. >> how about edmund randolph,
his voice at the convention speak with edmund randolph is very close to madison. they were very tight. randolph and jefferson's father said both died so they both come into possession of plantations. madison father didn't die. madison father live for a very, very long time, i think up until 1801. madison's mother lives into her 90s and guys shortly before madison. madison never really came to a in a an interesting way to avoid jefferson offers to sell the land so he can get his own house and madison says no. he and randolph are very, very close. randolph is very tall, good looking. in the book i argue madison kabul but wanted to give a great speech interest the plan but it looks at madison and then randolph, and they decide randolph is going to give the speech. randolph gives a great speech, but randolph drive to madison
grace. randolph thought it was bad of a single president. so randolph wanted like the romans had, he wanted a triumvirate. madison thinks that's a nonstarter if you can't understand why randolph -- over the course of the convention they grow apart to get into the convention randolph refuses to sign the constitution. much to madison's frustration. >> you the end of his life, i gather from your book, madison is beginning to rethink the relevance of the notes. to talk about that. >> right. when madison was redoing the notes for jefferson, he realized he had not written down randolph's speech. randolph gives this great speech explaining why the constitution was written under the else records at the way you record the first great speech of something. madison writes two lines about it, personal inuit.
and second authority was annoyed it was randolph getting to stand up there and giving the speech. when jefferson comes back he realizes he doesn't have randolph speak. he writes to randolph, hey, can you write your speech you gave on the first day of the convention two years ago so i can put in the notes? and then it will be there. randolph writes back, no, i can do that. that was two years ago and i would mix everything up. but randolph since in his nose. so madison in search randolph's from that day in. but as he grew older, madison became more and more persuaded that the country needed to have a record of the notes. this is an interesting aspect. he wanted the country to have a record but he was curiously ambivalent about the record. for somebody who is going to leave us these notes, madison
had an ambivalent reaction to posterity. is one of my favorite stories about madison. people may know another useful piece of trivia that john adams and thomas jefferson died on the same day. so they both died 50 years on july 4 after the declaration of independence. i personally think this is entirely suspicious and don't understand why there isn't a major american motion picture about the fact that they both died on exactly the same day, happens to be july 4. i should write that book. 10 years later in 1836, madison is dying. his family and friends, it's late june and is dying, and wanting to live long enough so he can died on july 4. [laughter] ten years later. you can kind of see the temptation. dolphin madison's randy's
wrightstown madison refused to take the necessary stimulants which would have probably been opium to allow his body to live long enough so he could conveniently die on the same day. did he dies on june 28. you can see a frustrating that was. in a way that ambivalence about his own role, his ambivalence about posterity mark madison so relationship to the convention. >> let's come back to jefferson for a moment. what role did he have? >> i think jefferson thought the notes would be a great political document. jefferson that the notes. because he is so obsessed with hamilton, he thought at the notes were published in which everyone how secretly evil hamilton was and it would destroy hamilton. madison thinking, everybody is still alive and then they will know that actually was pretty
close to hamilton at the convention. jefferson will know i was close and it would be a disaster. jefferson keeps pushing madison to revise the notes and to publish them. madison refuses. throughout his life madison refused. eventually madison says i just couldn't have been published posthumously. >> i want to focus again on alexander hamilton. not just because he's got this wonderful new musical, but because even in your talk today and i should know from constitution history, the figure of hamilton perhaps justifiably looms rather large but as you say people obsessed, fascinated with them. tell us more about alexander hamilton. >> want to do things the book focuses a lot on a decade after the convention, those first years, and i think one thing people sometimes don't understand is how close these
enormous egos came to destroy the country. maybe it was inevitable that when you get that many big brains in one room you're going to have problems, but very quickly around washington on one side, hamilton, and on the other side when jefferson returned, jefferson and madison are all in the same administration. hamilton was more controversial -- comfortable with the british model. he thought there were problems with the british model but i think he admired the nation-state status of the british government and he thought that if you're going to be a nationalist government you need to have that kind of power, particularly for example, a bank. jefferson thought that was a disaster, the state should be supreme. he was dubious about national power. he had lived in france in those years right before the french revolution and was very taken by sort of that spirit of rhetoric
about liberty and equality, and he worried about monarchy. those two different visions just completely collide. as i mentioned, port washington was left to do with them all. as long as washington was alive, everybody had enormous respect to washington. he's one of the people who you can't find anybody who says anything negative about what so ever. and as long as washington was there, the system kind of health. once washington retired then things really fell apart. it's quite remarkable is the country, it's quite remarkable the country survived. >> we have time for couple of questions. let me have one of them be from the audience. decisions, they relied on some of the revisions made later than the event itself.
>> the supreme court for most of its history has been quite careful not to fight directly to the notes. they tend to side to the federalist papers which they like a lot more which were written by madison and hamilton during the period when they are very close. so i don't think this book will change specific issues. i think what this book will cause some difficulty for people is that people who believe on the court in originalism may have some positive originalism is sometimes misunderstood. it's not the idea that you -- originalism is the claim that the only legitimate way to read the constitution is what people in basically 1787 who wrote the document or the people who ratify it after thought the
constitution and. that no other means are acceptable. i think for that group of people the sense of how difficult it was even at the moment for people to understand what the constitution and, how many disagreements there are at that moment would be a little bit complicated. >> with time almost what i want to come back almost to my original question about madison oftentimes thought of as the father of constitution. after looking at those revisions and what he did in terms of trying to add, change them a little bit reflect his evolving view, is it fair to think of him still as the father of the constitution? >> i don't know that he was the father of the constitution but the thing i came away with is how terribly important the document is. not as an objective record but as a way for us to understand how difficult the task was that they faced. i came away from the whole
project with enormous respect for how close the country was falling apart. and how much different people different opinions struggle to try and hold it together, how remarkable the document was that was written in philadelphia and, by how different it looked to them that it looks to us but as i say, this is not a document they thought they were writing expected ended up on playing cards at it would be a great surprise to all of us. >> let me also mention a couple things about the building. we have a place where you see a life-size model of the framers. so you'll see how short james madison was, which may be a real victory for short people. [laughter] but maybe most importantly mary's book will be on sale in the lobby outside as we'll. i really want to thank mary for take your time and sharing her expertise with us. >> thanks so much.