Skip to main content

tv   Willard Sterne Randall The Founders Fortunes  CSPAN  July 4, 2022 11:00am-12:01pm EDT

11:00 am
a very big part and i don't want to -- people here are far more knowledgeable about the development of this university system but really from uva it's fair to say state university system was born. it was really a lot of fun to discover the depth of this friendship. >> the presidency airs saturday at two p.m. eastern and is available to watch anytime online at c-span.org/history. ..m like to welcome you all to pnp live. let's introduce tonight's guests. willard stern randall is a disk distinguished scholar in history and professor emeritus at champ chaplain college as a biographer lecturer and lecturer. he specializes in the history of the founding era and he he has featured on c-span's
11:01 am
book looks, history.com, y history.net and more. brandon history john university in brown is a contributing editor in hq, the quarterly journal of military history. the intersection with robert bain, president and ceo of adarand strategies inc., an indiana based public relations firm launched in 2010. robert served from 1987 to 1990. after receiving an honorable discharge, robert earned a masters degree in medieval history from the indiana university and served as deputy chief of staff and communications director for indianapolis mayor fred salad and launched the leaders and legends podcast. his list of guests include george as well, william randle and david lstewart's and many more . let's give our virtual, let's
11:02 am
get our guest a virtual round of applause >> thank you morgan.. mister randall, thank you very much for your time this evening. tell us about your book and taking questions. the latest book is calledthe founders fortunes : how money shake the birth of america. his previous works include biographies of washington, jefferson, hamilton and many others . edlet's get started right away. the closing line of the declaration of independence is quotes, and for the support of this declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor . please examine this sentence and tell us what youthink orton was included . >> obviously their lives were involved because they were starting a revolution against
11:03 am
the king and if it failed or if they were captured, they would be paying, drawn and quartered. the grizzly execution ritual of the english but there fortunes, they were quite serious. some of them were very wealthy. some of them were not but they stood to lose everything because e if you were on the losing side of a revolution not only yours but your families and your descendents properties also became the property of the king. so everything that earned was the risk. >> is there a particular gap in scholarship. you've written so many books. is there a gap in scholarship you want to fillin while writing the founders fortunes ? >> the first gap wwas to re-examine a theory from a little over a century ago by
11:04 am
charles beard called the economic theory of constitution. and he, much like i started this project was thinking about the times we are in five years ago. political turmoil, divisiveness, parties fragmenting. lots of resistance to immigration. and it resembled athe time in the early 20th century when charles beard was at columbia university trying to put together a meeting to explain how the country got going and we didn't and his conclusion was tthat the founding fathers were in it for the money as much as lovely as that and his economic theory knocks the founding fathers off their pedestals and then you went through ththeir pockets and found goals and bonds and
11:05 am
came to the conclusion that they wanted a new form of government in which they would benefit. people like that and he thought of them asked the class . it of the politicians were the same as plutocrats. he didn't separate them. he actually used the words that these were security brokers, financiers, etc. leaving out entirely most of the men who signed the declaration or wrote the constitution many of whom were not rich atall . so i wanted to not only go back to his theory but i wanted to go through each one of the founding fathers lives and careers and find out for myself as opposed to explain to other people who these people really were, how they live, what they had at stake and whether what did they win
11:06 am
or lose by the revolution and the new constitution. >> taking in what you just said which in turn this book a revisionist history or just an updated one based on news sources and subsequent scholarship ? >> i like thesecond . i'll go behind the curtain be please. yes, i'm trying to update a theory became a school of history that lingers for a very long time and actually banished the idea of individual examining individual life. i'm a biographer and i think you can learn an awful lot of what happens by looking at the lives of the individuals involved. how can you write about the founding fathers without knowing anything about the founding fathers which is what consumes me for several t decades now. finding out what they were really like and what difference it made for this country . >> you mentioned finding out about what they were really like.
11:07 am
you've written several amazing well-received best-selling books on america's founding so what new things did you learn in the process of researchingand writing the founders fortunes ? >> how much time do we have? i'll start with benjamin franklin iseverybody's popular grandfather figure . even in the house and play the one thing they left out of the play was benjamin franklin because the playwrights , it you let him in, will take over everything but worldwide are best known founding father was benjamin franklin. he was the inventor. he was the guy with the wheelbarrow gathering up scraps of garbage to make soap. he was writing an autobiography that generations of students at three but he was also one of the quintessential new american. and so i studied him a lot and what i've learned about him one thing is that he was totally honest and very
11:08 am
frugal but every once in a while he could be very nacve. for example, when he was finishing up as our ambassador to france, and had put together a french alliance with the king when he was coming home, he got the traditional getthe french king gave to diplomats when they were going home which was often a snuff box . the country was french were addicted to grinding up tobacco andsniffing on it . and he had a nice little gift from the king . according to how high you were in his favor. benjamin franklin snuff box with a portrait of the king and 401 diamonds around the kings portrait . and that created storm back the constitutional convention when he just mentioned enby the way i got this. and what we got out of it as
11:09 am
a result is the emoluments clause in our constitution outhat you cannot, a government official, gifts from other countries or titles. that was a line i had no idea about and i didn't know about so i've learned a lot about snuff. >> we talked about thistoo. the contention of which is we focus too much on the founding fathers and the revolutionary era . what's your take on this charge ? >> i don't think you can d understand how this country came about or what that meant or how different it was if you skip over the founding fathers and what they struggled with, not just what they accomplished. what they rejected as well as what they were able to pull off. i think it's the tfoundation and if you don't have the foundation, where do you start?
11:10 am
the civil war was really a replay of a civil war and the american revolution that has been ignored until fairly recently. one third of americans wanted hito stayloyal to the king . one third one of their own country and i'm quoting john adams, the other third and it where the army was . we started out divided and you have to understand who the players were and what their differences were to understand how you find wind up with party politics oand other things about ourown time . i think you have to start a foundation and go from there. >> we were having a conversation with willard stern randall, is latest book is called the founders fortunes. how manysheets the birth of america .one of the real gifts that you give to your readers in this book is how
11:11 am
you convert 18th century financial figures into 21st-century numbers. it really has an impact. how exactly did you that and did the numbers, the calculated 21st-century numbers astound you ? >> they astounded me but i actually was on to a website that is called measuring work and in that it gives you your choice of how to look at the conversions. actually, you put in the money from the time that you're examining . and then you put in the amount and then you put in the date when you're writing the book. and then ouyou get almost a menu of possibilities. but what i decided to follow was what we now call the consumer price index. and that is basically what
11:12 am
the money will buy. and if you look it's quite surprising. and it's not just about prices of things for example before the revolution england and france were in an century of wars. french and indian wars and when it was all over the british had a debt of in our money can trillion dollars. if you just put that in pounds sterling it means nothing. but if you put it in terms of $10 trillion now and no what's transpiring in the senate and in our economy, then it's striking what comes up that for me as well, the british they were on the right side and who were these americans wanted a free ride and wentaround in carriages
11:13 am
and lives better than the average englishman explains why you have third of the country empathetic to the british . >> all the well-known actors you just mentioned, benjamin franklin all the well-known actors in our history are part of your book. washington, anderson, jefferson. but this isn't just about the . how important was it to you to expand the list of founders who had a keen financial interest in what was taking place atthe time ? >> i think to settle on a pantheon of statues of a handful of founders doesn't want you to understand that among the delegates to the constitutional convention was the gentleman who ran a general store in new hampshire. his entire portfolio of bonds from the revolution was worth about $12.45 a year to him. he certainly wasn't, it was worth about $10 for the
11:14 am
constitution and depreciated by $2.45. he wasn't in it for the money. the chief justice of the supreme court of new jersey was practically painless. he didn't hold any stocks, bonds and look at those people aswell . half of the signers of the constitution were trained in the law but a dozen of them basically had no formal education whatsoever but they had already been governor's estate. founded state universities. they just didn't leap over from the revolution to write a newconstitution . they struggled for a dozen years trying to set up governments within their own towns , within their own states and only when that didn't work and they decide to come together and see if they could come up with the
11:15 am
documents that made a more perfect union. but the constitutional convention happened because even george washington who had won the revolution militarily and was beloved so many people, he couldn't get maryland and virginia to talk to each other. he wanted to build a canal from the ohio valley so that ships could sail to europe. maryland wanted all the holes and he said wecan't go on like this . we have to become one nation. >> when it comes to measuring wealth, was there a conflict or perhaps a debate maybe between the relative value of land as opposed to that of hardmoney ? >> well, part of the problem wasthere was lots of land and not much hard money . the british would not allow
11:16 am
the colonies to have their own stores. everything had to be paid in pounds sterling . several states have tried and been shut down. there were no banks which was hard for me to believe that there were no banks in the united states before the revolution. before the constitution set one up with alexander hamilton and his formulaam. the lands was what everybody wanted. it's like somebody came from your. it was owned by the nobility or the church everybody came here and expected after the french and indian war was over to go west and the british shut it down.they drew a line on the. on the appalachian mountains and said you can't go any further west. from the british point of view it made sense to not let people get too far from the coast and be able tobuy anything from england . to the americans it was an affront and guarantee for
11:17 am
them they would have no wealth. no lands to expand and be with their families. >> i selected something you just said because youtook me back . there were no banks in the colonies. prior to the revolutionary war and constitutional convention dand establishment of the united states. where do people keep their money? where did they getmoney to build or buy ? >> in parks washington is an example. .e had a broker in london all the tobacco planters had to use brokerage houses in london n. send over their crops. the broker evaluates it. he is both and fulfill orders for any goods that washington wanted which wasn't working overy well. you had ordered everything from england given the time for shipping. washington's wedding suit was
11:18 am
six months late. martha's clothes were always the wrong size easy to buy a carriage, a nice carriage custom-designed carriage to stop using their old buddy fell apart. . wi mean, americans were at the mercy of english merchants who insisted on being paid in silver and gold student had so washington began to rebel r, when he became a debtor which was not his nature. >> you're talking about the attitude of the british and the treatment of the colonists of the americans by the british . while all thiswas happening , while the colonists were in the state of free rebellion and complaining about the taxes, what was the attitude of the british ruling class and its wealthy accomplices towards the colonists and their complaints?
11:19 am
>> unfortunately especially dealing with boston iathey thought the americans were an unruly mom. so they sent troops. they sent garrisons with troops to the frontier. they sent a regiment from montrcal to garrison boston. they treated americans more and more as a conquered people, not as english citizens living abroad. that really rankled somebody like georgewashington . we don't talk much about honor. we don't put is as much a value on it in our history but the insults of being treated as second-class englishman were a factor i have found. >> the seven years war or what we call the french and indian war certainly was
11:20 am
enormously expensive for. you just mentioned the figure, but that so justified in your mind were its leaders in advocating and legislating the colonists and attributes in ways that happened before? >> the leaders of england, parliament tended to ignore the fact that colonies were given royal charters and charters included religious including each colony was allowed to legislate and set its own taxes andcollects its own taxes . itwasn't , people did not come here to north america expecting to be to have the whole framework of their governments all the parts suddenly because a new administration came to power in london wanting to ignore the rights of the american colonists and just and us the bill. benjamin franklin put it well . he said what we gave you, was
11:21 am
our lives and was the cost of the struggle and then we gave you all of our trade. all of our commerce and how dare you tax us on top of that. >> how shocked were the colonists when the british started passing all the hats, stamped in 1755 and that he .and others to the townsend act to recoup some of this moneywhat was the reaction ? >> it was gradual but it started out immediately with americans saying we had to buy stamp on every piece of paper. practically you look at that and it doesn't start sound like enough to start a revolution over but george washington when he got through our day in the fields and over the account books liked to play cards with his friends in his drawing room.
11:22 am
all of a sudden he had a 10 shillings tax on a deck of cards for 10 shillings he could hire a farm manager for a week. when they cracked open the docs to play with them was a tax on that too. attacks on a pair of dice when given to horses. so what seemed like a small thing to us was a big thing to them at the time. and how they reacted was away any good englishmanwould . riots. english writing a lot home. if you read raise the price of beer they write. if they can get the beer they write it again. americans protested with rights ewwhat was new is the british soldiers the book and down and it was englishman with weapons trying to control other englishman. as went on the british cats, the british were fumbling. they had just become members.er
11:23 am
there was no precedent. they sat around reading the history of rome so the one administration after another idea what to do. so they came up with a stamp was rejected and overturned. then they came up with the townsend acts which included pains, glass. you have a attacks for glass pisces america. americans decided putting something like foil on their windows . they began to resist and not go along. but then the british took backeverything with a tax on tea . well, that seems like such a small thing now but franklin's son william when he was courting a young lady went over to her house on a sunday and he would have cups of tea and keep sitting until her mother said you have to leave. i mean, they had to pay to have his imported by the
11:24 am
english and english ships with english cruise all away from you and all had to do was down in thecaribbean and get it for a fraction of that which is what they did . so they tresisted by their actions. suddenly decide to go to war. washington war was a very bad alternative. that was a surprise to me. his family and lost everything in the english civil war. that's why his family came here. what you wanted was sanctions as we call them today. you wanted an economic point of the english that works very well until the british soldiers over again, this time they invaded. >> you talk about how some of these taxes on the wealthy are of the colonies. but just the average joe for lack of a better term and his wife and kids, how did they react idand how were they affected by these taxes?
11:25 am
>> for one thing, when the resistance began the british started using royal navy to collect customs students. the result was that many people would have been openly buyingthings from the caribbean or france anymore . speakingvery expensive . a needle and thread was something robert morris order soto be smuggled in from europe because he could make so much money with needles and thread because americans wouldn't allow them to manufacture anything . they had to send raw materials. so as the struggle between en the two went on there was less and less commerce between americans and europe. and the average citizen had to pay for it. >> when my kids were studying this period in american history, i always told them
11:26 am
to pay attention to the qucbec as i've always thought and maybe will get some questions about this or comments but it's really underrated, the qucbec act as a cause of the break between the colonies and great britain. what is your take on the and how did it affect the mentality of colonists both rich and poor ? >> the qucbec act which was finally passed in 1774 after the townsend act did two things that many americans, english americans presented. one, it may catholicism the state church of this huge province of qucbec. two, extended qucbec beyond what we call qucbec all the way down to the ohio valley and it also cut off trade with the native americans in qucbec province so americans
11:27 am
basically saw that they were being boxed in but new englanders were as anti-papist as they would say that as they could be. and the idea that the british were imposing catholicism on their inprotestants heaven was much too much for them. the first army that went to canada to fight in the revolution stopped off at the tomb of a famous. as in preacher and cut up pieces of his investments and put them in their to carry the message to canada we were not going to sit for this. so was about trade. it was about more english control. it was also the qucbec act trial by jury. all the landowners work as peasants for fixing roads and bridges.what it did was
11:28 am
diminish the rights and privileges of english americans. >> we're having a conversation with willard stern randall, famous historian. his latest book is called the foundersfortune . how money shapedthe birth of america . so discussion or dissection of the economic conditions of the revolutionary era is complete without a diving to the slave economy. this peculiar institution affect the founders fortunes at the colonial economy in general ?>> well, the economy of the south as we would now call the south was based onon slavery. the economy of the north depended on another form dof servitude. and that was the indentured servitude. if you put the two of them together it's really half of the population of british america.
11:29 am
the difference was in new england the indentured servants are a term of years and when it was over the us rewarded either with the tools of trade for land. land ugto raise a family. but the two did not see each other. they did not see eachother as equal . that really deceives of the civilwar begin at the time of the declaration of independence .jefferson who owned or enslaved hundreds of people wrote the declaration and in it he blames the slave trade on the king of england and on the british which in a way was accurate because the largest exporter of slaves was the royal african company controlled by the king of england he tried to abolish
11:30 am
slavery by public law and the declaration of independence. the southerners , the southern delegateswould not go for it . they considered them traitors and cut it out.slavery basically it's the cutting room floor at the beginning and i think what's worse is when the constitution was just a dozen years later, the debate was cut off. there would be no more discussion in congress of slavery foranother 20 years . they kept ignoring the snake was coiled under the table of their democracy that evil institution of slavery but each landed on the other. the southerners said how could you object to these chips that you hold to transport the slaves? if you take the wrong the slaves to get the sugarcane and you turn and run in boston.
11:31 am
the biggest sleep work in the country is not in the south, wasprovidence rhode island . so they cannot solve this amicably between them so they kept pushing it downthe road, taking it down the road . and it continued to be a source of much of the wealth of the country but not all of it. as time went on the north joined the industrial revolution. the factories imported workers from europe who worked under pretty horrible conditions but only for a short time. so you already have and the declaration the seas of the civil war. >> was their inability to do so fueled as much by economic necessity as it was by their own racism in a sense?
11:32 am
that we can't afford to have our plantations are crops without involuntary servitude and oh by the way, if it's their god or if god wanted them to be equal to us than .ou would intervene you read some pretty horrible stories about the attitudes of the plantation owners in hethe 18th-century for sure these during the time you're writing about. >> let me take that in reverse order. first of all, slavery was not invented in the south and racism was notinvented in the south either . in the early 17th century even the archbishop of canterbury, the church of england actually wrote a very bad poem that talked about how the program, it was a chromatic scale of evil and
11:33 am
the darker you were the further you were from god and england. and the english had experienced displacing the irish for example and the scottish. so they came up with the idea of treating a race or nationality quite subservient to their own. as far as the economy, not everybody agreed how to continue slavery in the south. george washington and an economic calculation figured out that he couldn't go on growing tobacco which was used in intense slave labor because tithe british were charging them $.80 on the dollar of our money to ship it, warehouse it, unpack it, process it and tax it so he could no longer afford to
11:34 am
grow tobacco and instead he converted to a crop that used almost no slavery roaming week, catching fish in the potomac river. selling fish and we in the local markets. building his own ships to sell wheat all the way to italy. he converted to a whole new economic model. everybody in the south know about. but you couldn't get to the north crossing at mount vernon stopping for dinner andhaving some marvelous have . he was chosen by southerners to leave the revolution because it was the largest, wealthiest colony. without it there would be no war. so it's pretty hard to find an excuse for turning a blind eye to the solution. it's just, the delegates with the declaration of independence on the huge number of people.one delegate 26 years old from south carolina had 800
11:35 am
enslaved workers. the numbers are staggering. in the north vei've only been able to find one or two of the delegates to the continental congress who had slaves and free them. so the north already saw this as a terrible idea. >> when you read biographies of washington and jefferson and some of the others. i know you don't deep into their lives. it's kind of shocking how poor they were. and the extent they had things and land but no money. if you didn't know thomas jefferson owns monticello it think it would be begging outside the tabfor every single light for a meal . why were these owners, these plantation owners, these
11:36 am
founders so for? >> they list harvest to harvest. there were such things as bad years. as in any farmer's life. they live according to the ideas of the british what they were going to a forthat year's crop . there was no gold or silver. there was no money to borrow from the bank thomas jefferson took 54 years and probably the longest home improvement project in history to finish monticello because he could never get enough money to do it at once but that also is taking life. he was an absolute compulsive shopper who just kept spending and spending. he also had the idea the british were going to rip them off , he was going torip them off . so we didn't spend that time or money paying off his debts. he rationalized everything
11:37 am
including his debts. >> there is a founding father whose name is and signature is bigger thananyone on the declaration of independence . do you think the wealthy merchants and patriot john hancock is underrated in his contribution to the e revolution? >> i think he definitely is. and i'm working on that frankly. he's underrated because he's underrated because you overdressed. maybe that's too simplistic. but he was born the son of country arson in was.achusetts and he was adopted by a wealthy and no children of their own as a child of the wealthiest versions in new england. and he works learn the business.ss he went to harvard.
11:38 am
and then went to work in accounting house as clerk worked his way all the way up to owning the company in 26 because his uncle was sick and dying soldiers 26. he was the small fellow. lightweight and he liked to enhance his size with really fancy clothes. he was a fashion plate euros room everywhere andcarry on quite a show . but bostonians because using and businesses he set up a chain of stores recently. he rolled the managers. he distributed food to the poor. he supported hundreds of families when there were hard times or the british
11:39 am
blockaded borders. though he was very well loved in boston except for one or two people. the loyalists and john adams. john adams is an interesting figure. is athe most loquacious founding father. there was a musical once called sitdown job because talk, talk and talk which was the opposite john hancock. john hancock would run a good meeting but he didn'ttalk much . he didn't have any eheirs either. so no family to glorify his reputation and future generations has gone out of. my favorite bostonian by the way is sam adams. the true radical of the revolution. these they can be of the nt18th-century when hancock and sam adams were raising the philadelphians during the
11:40 am
british attack on boston to the continental congress john hancock turns sam and says you can't go to philadelphia representing massachusetts looking like that. so john hancock antagonizes sam adams by buying him a nuisance. that became a political rivalry for the rest of their lives. the kind of thing for wheni'm doing my research by the way . >> armed conflict is sometimes referred to as "rich man's war and a poor man's site is the american revolutionary war an example of this? >> no it's not. that's quote from james mcpherson's right of freedom which rich man's format fight is very accurate for the confederacy . everyone was in. everyone was in on one side or the other in the revolution. the wealthy put everything on
11:41 am
the line they were hundred men and george washington moved 280 times and contemporary headquarters during the war while his farmers had no income. his wealth diminished by half before it was over. >> who was playing? who werethe officers ? we had no officer class, had no military academies and people who had just been awwrong militia foss and were promoted and wound up being generals, some at young ages. so that doesn't work too well . many people who work or under the british side of things could neverown land . volunteered to fight because the states even bounties. lands bounties hewhen the war was over. anywhere from 100 acres, it was actually all the way up
11:42 am
to general. the states by the way were competing with each other and helping each other for recruits . so rank or or class were not factors. anyone who was willing to fight the british and risk the british planets and british artillery was welcome . >> fortune applies not only to people who are trying to or risk it but also the people who were trying to create it. was the revolution viewed by some as always better economic conditions? >> the answer is yes because we had the americans had no need. and what you could be done about that was merchants could invest in building their own ships. hiring their own crews and they were called privateers
11:43 am
who got commissions from congress then went out and attacked the british tax ships. fact ships carrying weapons. thousands of british ships were captured. is amazing thing. we call it now marie was privateers. everybody on that ship got loop when they captured another ship intact iand brought back with its cargo and auctioned off so the cruise, something started as a member of the group while on the ship for several chips, it was a way to wealth . >> we've reached the tuquestion and answer part ofour conversation with willard stearns randall, his latest book is called the founders fortunes . how many shiftthe birth of america . eugene has a question . >> before that robber. these are wonderful
11:44 am
questions. i want to thank you for them and i'm looking forward to more wonderful questions from our guests. >> as always your incredibly kind and wonderfully gracious . eugene has a really goodone. who was the richest founder and the poorest rifounder ? >> robert mars. he started out as america's first. he came out of the revolution as america's first billionaire because he had been a financier, invested in ships and then use them to transport goods to france, etc. they also had private hearing ships that were very successful hand by the middle of the revolutionary war the french said he was the richest american and really considered him a billionaire . when it was all over, when the struggle was all over and there was a newconstitution , the economy tanked because the british while they gave us our political independence
11:45 am
in the treaty of paris did not give us our economic independence and they cut all america's markets with europe, with the caribbean and robert morris was one of those people who no longer could sell goods and use ships to make money with europe so he did the spectacularly foolish thing of speculating in land which so many have done. three signers of the declaration of independence including robert morris wound up in debtor's prison because they had so much, so little cash and so many investments that they could barely keep up with them so robert morris who financed the revolution sat down and signed 6000 notes by hand to pay washington's tobills so they could be discharged and go
11:46 am
home proudly. he wound up in debtor's prison for three years and we didn't even they had debtor's prisons. >> i'm anonymous question. how were the founding fathers interpret the current financial situations of the united states. maybe focus a bit onmister hamilton . >> mister hamilton would be very happy with his idea which was to create a national bank to create corporation. the first american corporation is the united statesgovernment . anybody has to pay back the government loan knows government makesprofits . he would be very happy with the financial health of the country at the stock market and all that but personally he was a disastermaking money . he was so broke when he was
11:47 am
killed in the famous duel his friends and colleagues had to pass the hat. so he would be happy in the abstract but in real life and death hewould not be happy at all . >> so in our previous conversation you made that comment about passing the hat . expand upon that and tell the audience exactlywhat you mean by that . >> passing the hat met, it goes back to aland and money. hamilton had married the daughter of a wealthy hudson valley landowner. but he couldn't sell his land anymore than any other american. he couldn't collect rent enfrom tenant farmers becausethey didn't have any money . so hamilton worked very long hours supporting a family of seven as a lawyer. but he also couldn't get
11:48 am
along with another american. a different political persuasion, ehrenberg . and so they wound up at odds. we walk in shooting it out. the problem was held didn't have any money so his family didn't have the money for a funeral or a monument and his colleagues in congress literally up a collection a for his funeral the marker on history which by the way is right across the street from the world trade center. for a man came up with our phenomenal financial system he was not very good at it himself. >> next question is anonymous . would you say what the founding fathers lacks in fo material wealth they made up er for in political power?
11:49 am
>> ambition to have power, yes. but they really were powerless. because from the minute the constitution was signed and washington office, his lieutenants, hamilton and jefferson wereat each other's throats . they had no real power. washington ran the country as if you were still a general the cabinet meeting was having three people over on tuesday telling them what you want to find out about the next week. the only one who had any power was worth washington. congress had no power. basically because nobody had any money through most of this. and each state as we are now coming up again came up with its own election laws and its own laws of who can hold office and in the south only
11:50 am
therich could afford to be governor . and in new jersey or in new england is very little money. in new england the value of your tools as the property. the property qualification to become a voter. in the south which was, their wealth was based on the value of human beings. they borrowed on the equity of slaves. the governor of south carolina had to be a millionaire. the governor of massachusetts for a while was sam adams with the old suit very bad at making money. >> please submit your questions in the q&a feature asked willard stearns randall. before we leave we have a few minutes left. the question is from robert. a lesser-knownfinancier is oliver pollock .can you
11:51 am
comment about him and how he did postwar? >> i would like to know about him, i can't answer that question. >> robert if you have a minute type in a little bit about mister pollock and will try to answer in the few minuteswe have remaining . next question is from january what finally led trade happened again betweenthe united states and england ? >> the war of 1812 which was the final act of the american revolution . againracketeering . and the courage of a lot of thesailors and fighting men . they were able to at least fight to a draw against the british army which had already defeated bonaparte napoleon. but the americans held on to the territory that they had
11:52 am
one. the british invaded baltimore because they failed. by the dawn's early light, they invaded from canada. we don't hear about that. the most important naval battle of the war was on lake champlain so the british could not invade from canada. they made a terrible blunder by leaving baltimore and sailing to new orleans where they ran into thefrontiers . under andrew jackson. 2000 men killed and wounded in 15 minutes. the british were vanquished. the british lost the warof 1812 whatever else they say. they defeated napoleon but they couldn't defeat the americans . >> the question is from cynthia. what was the role of i am solomon. >> i'm so glad somebody brought i am solomon, there's a section 2 men in detroit.
11:53 am
he was the man who actually knew how to get together enough cash in this cashless society. when washington needed itto pay his men to cross the river and attack trenton in 1776 . he basically hung out in the coffeehouse in philadelphia when theships came in . and did. he was an excellent financier and totally respectable respected by washington. he has been given our little space in our history. >> so robert has come due for us. robert pollock, the merchant and financier of the american revolutionary war which he has long been considered a historically undervalued figure. he is often attributed with the creation of the united
11:54 am
states $in 1778. >> that's a good idea for a book. this is how books are born. the questions that historians can't answer. >> we talk about the wealthy members of that generation who cast their lot with the revolution. but what about the wealthier colonists, the wealthier americans who stay true to britain. how did they fare both during and after the treatyof paris in 1783 ? >> they fared very badly in the united states. the loyalists s. whole convoys of ships at new york harbor or charleston to take determined loyalists elsewhere in the british empire. if they stayed by the way, they lost all their civil rights and legal rights.
11:55 am
onlyhamilton defended the royalists in new york . >> why did you that? why did he defend the royalists? >> because he thought the war was over and the treaty provided that the loyalists would be able to collect their debts. he was a lawyer. he firmly believed in contracts and language and the individual states refused to accept the terms of the treaty that franklin and jefferson had voted. so nhe also there were so many people to buy property and money they have to leave or a were hounded out or persecuted that he became a lawyer for the loyalists . that was the basis of his legal practice . so the british probably were the only ones who treated the loyalists well.
11:56 am
after using them and losing the house of lords gave the loyalists the equivalent of the cost of one more year of the war and divided it up. send commissioners over to get documents and invade people for their losses. >> canada is where most of them went. so what is now ontario province was a loyalist province. new brunswick, a loyalist robbins, nova scotia most of the loyalists walked or went by ship to the frozen north. >> final question for the evening. you started talking about in the beginning about how the british had a debt. i think you said $10 trillion and needed moneyfrom the colonists . to help alleviate this debt but instead of getting money from the colonists they got more. so what was the financial
11:57 am
condition of great britain after the end of the american revolution . >> very deeply in debt. they had managed to do anything but incur more debt they had also lost, george iii managed to lose the first british empire. he ran the war personally. he was an insomniac writing notes to generals and the prime minister but you managed to lose it. but he left the landowners of england and most of the bills. and as much as the third of the value of their land every year . the british could not afford to go on fighting. there were riots in the streets. there were troops and months of shooting writers. the british had lost the war and they were dead brokestill . >> and as we know how the war
11:58 am
affected the allies with the colonists, the french monarchy and its deadly game and how that played out. have been speaking with willard stearns randall. latest book is called the founders fortunes, how money .shaped the birth of america. thank you to everyone who came on resume to listen to mister randall talk. as usual will you did an absolutely terrific job. your book is amazing and i encourage everyone to use the link in the chat feature to th their nearest bookstore. thank you sir very much h. >> thank you robert, this is an pleasure for me. >> recently all her own wrestling talk about what the constitution might look like were rewritten by every american generation . here's some of what he said . >> out finish my presentation by talking just for a second about the preamble. there is no question in my mind if you sat down with
11:59 am
hundreds of delegates to the constitutional convention in philadelphia in 2022, our preamble look different than the new drafted preamble would look different. and what i do, one of the things that a lot of countries have done in their preamble is kind of a not to their horrible past. so i crafted a preamble and i'm going to show it to you as a way to finish up. it looks like this is what i would argue would be, could be a constitutional preamble in the 2022 constitutional convention. we the people ofthe united states in order to form a market union establish justice and knowledge the entry of injustice, ensure domestic tranquility , remedy the wounds of systemic prejudice, other institutional forms of discrimination, slavery was persistent as he and native
12:00 pm
people. promote the general welfare and number she ran equity to liberty to all do ordain and establish this constitution for the united states of america. >> once the full program at c-span.org/history just search both wrestling or the title of his constitution for the letter.

26 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on