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tv   Washington Journal Craig Shirley Mary Ball Washington  CSPAN  January 20, 2020 4:00am-4:56am EST

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>> we are back with craig shirley, the offer -- host: we are back with craig shirley, the author of his book on george washington's mother. why write about mary washington? we've all heard the story of george washington, but why write about his mother? >> because she is a misunderstood figure of history. she has been badly treated by american history. there has never been a definitive biography done of george washington's mother, which i thought was remarkable. it's not just because she had to
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give an answer, it's how she raised him. her husband, augustine, died when george was young. she was in her 30's raising six children. that alone would resonate with a lot of women in america today. the tough times she went through raising her children. to byhe was referred biographers, from her passing to the time of the civil war, she came across as june cleaver. war, realismil began to take hold in american literature with moby dick, tom sawyer, huckleberry finn, and all of that. also, the biographers who mentioned her made her look more like joan crawford, so both got it wrong. there were elements of both of her character and makeup, but both got them wrong.
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i decided, plus i lived in the was in the life -- lively area of virginia. it seemed like i wanted to write something about washington, but he had pretty much been covered, soup to nails, but the way to get in and talk about him was to a book about his father. host: give us a quick ir gripper of mary washington. it she born in the united states? give us information about her. guest: she was born in the united states. was born of means, not like the upper classes but the upper middle classes of virginia society. , shethe time she was born
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had lost her mother, father, stepfather, so she knew about death intimately by the time she was 11. she meets augustine in her 20's, and proceeds to marry him, and in nine years, she had six children. on ferry farm, outside of fredericksburg, virginia, for a time. as things evolved and augustine died, and the children moved on, she moved into fredericksburg where she spent the rest of her life. she was not as active in the the local she went to church, we know she liked to dance, but there are a lot of gaps in the stories. it's like picking up -- it's like buying a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle and having 300 pieces
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missing. you've got to stitch it together, and make educated besses about what was the part of the puzzle to get you from a to c. that is what we had to do. we searched everything at mount vernon, cincinnati society, fredericksburg, and fredericksburg newspapers, mary ball washington's home, mary but washington library in virginia, everything we could -- combed everything we could to assemble the first story of mary ball washington. host: why is it necessary for americans to know the complete story of mary ball washington? what do we learn about george washington and about the beginnings of america from her? ? guest: he had an old step brother named lawrence who was part of augustine's married to jane, and jane died and augustine married mary.
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george looked up to lawrence as a role model, and lawrence was a very good man, but he also died in his late 20's, early 30's. attributes, of his his patriotism, his loyalties, intelligence, integrity, fidelity, all of these things had to come from somewhere. clearly, they came from his mother. she was the one who taught him life lessons that made him the president, the standard by which all other presidents are measured. i wanted to people to understand the 1700s was not a very hospitable century for a lot of people, african slaves, but also women. she obviously didn't have the vote, but she couldn't own property. women in that century couldn't
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own property. they would inherit it from there husband and there husband died, but then, their job was to be a custodian of the property and pass it along to their eldest son. that is what she did with the farm. augustine left it to george and she was the custodian of it. then, interestingly enough, indicative of the relationship, handed ferryreally farm over to george, even though he expressed frustration with her for not executing the paperwork to give him that farm, which his father had left to him. host: what was her relationship like with george? where they close? where they distant? tell us about the relationship between a young george washington and his mother, and then older george washington with his mother. guest: i suppose washington,
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in amost of us, was lifetime or fruitless quest to please his father. [laughter] rather expected him to go out and do good things. it was expected of people of that class, that strata, virginia society, to go out. you were not supposed to be wasteful, you were supposed to go do things. george was so happy presiding over the continental congress, was the commander-in-chief of the continental army and was annexed -- elected unanimously as the president of the united states and re-elected unanimously. when he was 14 years old, he wanted to join the british navy as a cabin boy. she wrote a letter to her brother-in-law who was in london and said tell me about how americans are treated in the british navy. he wrote a letter back and set under no circumstances can you
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allow george to become a cabin boy. it's the lowest rung, and cabin boys typically were british royalty, british subjects, then french, spanish, whatever. at the lowest wrong, even below jamaicans and african slaves were american cabin boys. they were treated the worst of all. this is at a time as well when one third of cabin boys died at sea. when she gets this letter from her brother-in-law, she puts her foot down and says george, under no circumstances can you join the british navy. host: how did he take that? , basedas far as we know on the little information we have, he was disappointed. but, he did as his mother told him to do. host: which is what we all do eventually. guest: exactly. [laughter] guest: or we try to at least.
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host: i want to read a little from your book, something you said about mary ball washington. saint or an as a villain, nothing together, but her character complemented each other. aries kindness and control were one and the same. mary washington was a woman who used the facade of motherly virtue to cover her desire to control her son. in the same way he led a country to break away from its overpowering imperial matriarch. to stepad to struggle away from the power of his demanding mother. give us ways in which george had to break away, and prove his independence to his mother. guest: one example i gave you about the cabin boys, joining british navy. when he joined the french and indian wars, when he was in the
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british army fighting the french and indians in the ohio valley, she implored him not to go, and he went, despite her. on the other hand, he was very dutiful about delivering an allowance to her several times per year, sometimes more than a few times per year. host: and you mean part of his salary. guest: part of his income from mount vernon and things like that. he would take money to her in fredericksburg, for her to help make ends meet. battles overtrast, property, battles over whether or not he joined the british army, british navy, but there was also clear that she did love him -- it was clear that she did love him and it was clear that he loved her. it was a loving relationship. host: i want to let our viewers join in on the conversation. we will open up regional lines
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for this last hour. that means, if you live in the eastern or central time zones, we want to do: at (202) 748-8000 -- we want you can to call in at (202) 748-8000. if you are mountain or pacific, your number is (202) 748-8001. keep in mind, you can always text us your questions at (202) 748-8003, and we are always reading social media, on twitter atpanwj and on facebook i'm always interested in the research that goes into things like this. the further we go back in history, the harder it is to find material that helps us build these narratives. what did you work from to come up with the story of mary ball washington? what information was out there on who she was and her life? yout: previous books, and
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have what you knew to be factual, believe it was factual, versus the stuff that was maybe having a little hole in it or something like that. his letters, washington was a prodigious writer of letters. her letters, some of which survived to this day, multiple accounts, letters from her children like betty and samuel to her, and letters from her to her children. local newspaper accounts, third-party accounts, there was an account once where french soldiers going through fredericksburg joined the american revolution, and they recorded mary was anything but in support of the revolution, which was interesting because her son was leading the revolution. host:host: say that again. -- host: say that again. guest: the indication was she was not all that thrilled about the revolution, that she was loyal to the british crown, even as her own son was leading the american revolution. there was a count of french
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soldiers going to fredericksburg that noted mary's difference to the whole revolution. host: since we are talking about it, let's jump into it. mary ball washington grew up as a british subject. her son is leading a rebellion against the culture she grew up in. did that cause a conflict between the two? guest: not that i've been able to discover. you are exactly right, from the time she was born along about --we don't know when she was buried and we know her approximate age and we know she died of breast cancer. her approximate age was 83 when she died but no one is sure. she grew up correctly in the
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british culture. she was a british subject and went to the local anglo church. she grew up believing in the divine right of kings, that king george of the second, king george the third where the absolute heads of the british empire, and she was the british subject of the american colonies -- and part of the american colonies. she and a lot of other people like her were asked to forget everything they have been immersed in for the last 60 years and the like. everything you've learned, you have to unlearn. everything you know is wrong. you don't bow down to kings, the british parliament is not running things, you don't take your orders from parliament, we the deck andble throw off that colonial power, and we will become an independent nation. this is earth shattering for a lot of people.
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this is before the internet, before regular newspapers and television. thes of communication are spoken word, written word, and newspapers. things moved slowly, but when the revolution happens, which goes in slow motion because the american revolution really starts probably 10 or 15 years 1776, allhe july 14, edict ofking george's american colonies not to settle the ohio valley. overlong period of time, 10 years or more, great britain and parliament, and the king are pushing more and more down on the american colonists, and sometimes they withdraw these acts, and sometimes they don't. up around 1774,
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that results in the declaration of independence in 1776. she is watching all this but really not involved at all. like a lot of people, she is not involved. there is no record of her knitting socks for the american or hosting fundraisers, or members of american the colonial army, nothing like that whatsoever. she was an observer at best. --t: washington at the time george washington was probably the most famous living american at the time, he and ben franklin. was she ever? in any danger during the revolution you would think -- what she ever in any danger during the revolution? you would think the british might collect his mother. guest: they didn't engage in things like that. i'm not sure how well known that
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she was not a supporter of the revolution. obviously he knew, but he was preoccupied with this ragtag -- britishg to victory after british victory, and that is washington's genius, he kept the army together going from battle to battle. losing many and winning a few, but winning a few important ones. guest: was there contact -- host: was there contact between then general washington and his mother during the revolution? guest: no. he wrote many letters to martha and she wrote many letters to him, but virtually no communication between george and mary during the seven years of the american revolution. host: why do you think that was? is it simply because he was too busy? guest: i don't think there was anything -- host: maybe a rip in the relationship? guest: nothing emerged to suggest that. not any contemporary letters
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whatsoever or diaries whatsoever seem to indicate there was a rift between the relationship, it was just he was very busy. examples as well of how much he loved her and devoted to her he was. all the letters to her were addressed as honored madam. it was respectful, that was clear, but it kept her in somewhat an arms length distance. it's so formal, to keep it from being too personal. host: let's let some of our viewers join in on the conversation. we open up regional lines. if you live in the eastern or central time zones, your number is (202) 748-8000. if you are in the mountain or pacific time zones, your number is (202) 748-8001. let's talk to jim who is calling
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from tucker, georgia. jim, good morning. guys.: good morning, you fascinating topic. have ation is, well i couple questions and comments. first of all, you talk about the way people communicated back then, and you didn't mention a town crier, so i would be interested to know how that impacts the way folks communicated back then. regarding the relationship with interestingthat's stuff. i would like to know how the temperate -- i guess it wasn't a temperate movement back then, but how that relationship may have affected washington's perspective on the rescue rebellion after he was
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president. then, i have -- i would like to know, two more things. you look at the way people communicated back then and you talk about his letters and things like that, and that is great. people have letters to look at, but now with our culture the way it is now and all of the e-commu wonder how that will affect research. the last thing, i want to hear your comments on how washington's relationship with his mother may compare or contrast to president trump's relationship with his mother. [laughter] guest: that's a lot of questions. i will try to do my best. know about donald trump's relationship with his mother. most presidents had very good relationships with their mother, and i think that is a key indicator of what type of president they would be. obviously, abraham lincoln spoke
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, andy about nancy hangs sarah roosevelt was domineering of franklin roosevelt, but he lived with her his whole life basically, even when he was president and went home to sunnyside in hyde park. reagan -- ronald reagan, i have written four books about ronald reagan, had a very devoted relationship with his mother. so much so, that when he was of age, he and his brother, neil, were given the choice of following their father's religion of roman catholic or mother's religion of christ. and neilose christ chose roman catholic. he always said nothing but very warm things. he gave her a job in hollywood in the 1940's, answering his fan mail for him. bought her and her husband house
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, so i think most presidents -- indicatork this is an of leadership -- most presidents have had good, maybe sometimes tumultuous, but very strong relationships with their mother. maybe even more so because we know abraham lincoln despised his father but love his mother -- loved his mother. theirhello mother raises son is just as important if not more important than how father raises his son. temperance, washington himself was a whiskey distiller, and quite successful at selling it. there is still a distillery at mount vernon property today. he was known to have a cocktail, though there was no record of him drinking too drunkenness. his brother samuel, there is
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evidence his brother had a drinking problem. temperance movement in that era whatsoever. no evidence either that mary everett -- ever took what they called spirits, had a drink or a cocktail or anything like that. what were the other questions those two will be enough -- questions? host: those two will be enough. let's talk to steve from webster, massachusetts. good morning. caller: good morning. mr. shirley, in your research, i'm curious, did you ever come across anything that supports the cherry tree story, the myth. guest: no. go ahead. caller: i also had a second question, i would like you to enlighten us a little bit on the whiskey rebellion, but i
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-- i am a student somewhat of rebellion. president washington to my understanding had a distain of backwoods people. if you could comment on that item, first the cherry tree, and i don't believe it. and also about the agrarian rebellions as well. perhaps his mother's affect on president washington, and his regard toward agrarian's. guest: thank you. what was the first one? host: the cherry tree. guest: there was an early biographer of george washington, and he was the one who came up with the cherry tree story. there is no evidence the cherry tree story actually happened whatsoever, but it did indicate that one thing is true about that is that door to washington was a man of deep conviction, deep character, deep honesty,
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and deep integrity. the story, while probably not parable still a good about the type of boy george washington was, the type of man -- in the type of man he grew into. it has its uses even though it is not true. and thes the rebellion whiskey rebellion -- the origins of the whiskey rebellion, after washington becomes president, hamilton goes to washington. -- alexanderbolton hamilton goes to washington and says we need to pay off the various debts from the revolution in one way to bind the country together is to take on all of the debts to the national government. washington agrees on this. interestingly enough, it's an indication of how early lobbyists were operating in washington, because the taxes were levied on the whiskey
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distilleries, and they were laid more heavily on the small distilleries and less on the bigger ones because the bigger distilleries hired lobbyists to lobby washington and lay off of them. that was the source of the whiskey rebellion, the small distilleries. one thing they did, which was interesting, in washington -- and washington did lead men in thele out to suppress whiskey rebellion, especially in rural pennsylvania and rural virginia, was that the distilleries, in order to escape the tax, simply left the united states and moved into kentucky and tennessee, which -- host: which was not part of the united states. guest: which was not part of the united states. but now all of these -- now that all of these were fine spirits were made in tennessee and kentucky, because they left the united states to escape the the -- escapeby
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the whiskey taxes. host: we talked about mary ball washington and a young george washington. will you talk a little bit about mary ball washington and adult george washington? what was the relationship between president george washington and mary ball washington? question.s is a good he's chosen as president of the united states, and he has got to go to new york, being the first capital of the united states, has to go there to assemble a government and assume the duties as the first chief executive, but before he does leave for mount vernon, new york, he makes one last ship to fredericksburg, and he goes knowing his mother is dying of cancer. she knows she is dying of cancer. there are two contemporary accounts of letters at the last meeting between the two of them warm, and shery
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basically acknowledged, finally acknowledged, what he done in his life had been great. she basically gave her blessings to go to new york to assume the office of president of the united states and do what he had to do to pull the country together, so by all accounts, his last meeting with her was a warm one. now, he is in new york, and several months later, he gets a letter, from pennsylvania to new by horse andletter carriage takes two weeks or something like that, and he is told his mother passed away. he goes into a room by himself or something like three hours. obviously grave -- grief stricken at the loss of his mother. , all of thehe end old animosities and old battles had fallen away.
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it was just the love of a mother and son. host: did president george washington, was he able to attend a funeral or service for his mother? guest: no. he [indiscernible] host: by whom? guest: gossips and things like that. i don't remember any newspapers saying anything about that. maybe there was one or two, but i don't remember offhand. but again, he was a victim of distance. 350 miles from fredericksburg to new york -- guest: by the time he heard, it was probably -- host: by the time he heard, it probably would have been a week of so later. guest: by the time he heard she probably would have been buried. her life was celebrated and her
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collection quickly took up and fredericksburg to establish a monument, a large jobless -- o blisk. it set uncompleted for many years, and finally, later on, i thing it was andrew jackson who monument,edicated the but it wasn't finished for many years later but it is finished today. host: let's talk to dawn, calling from durham, north carolina. good morning. caller: good morning. shirley to know if mr. had any background or information he came across in or beingthe slave act created, because new york had different rules on endangered servants and slaves, when they could be freed. in the white house being
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actually moved to washington dc because of that. d.c., because of that. a book talked about his pursuit of runaway slaves. second, any commentary he has on the use of africans on the british and american side, to win the revolutionary war, because ultimately george washington have -- had to use african men to win the war, africans who wanted to be free from slavery because the americans and so forth were dropping out of the war. they were leaving and abandoning their post. guest: i will admit my knowledge on the future of runaway slave act -- fugitive runaway slave act is not what it should be. slavery was an important part of american society and culture in the 1700s, and later in the 1800s. operatedm, where mary
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her crops, had about 20 slaves. she had several house slaves in her house and fredericksburg. slaves,on had over 300 who we all freed on his deathbed. again, i didn't get into this, but i'm aware african-americans served in both the british army and american army, and i believe there was some promises made of freedom, if they served in the american revolution. and he used them as well until the cotton gin. i'm not as versus i should be, but there was no doubt they were intertwined, and have been so for 300 years. host: what was the relationship
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like between mary ball washington and martha washington? when george washington marries martha, and i believe -- on his death, president washington said his slaves could be released after martha's death. guest: i believe so, yes. host: so then after martha's death, they could be freed. what was the relationship between mary ball while thinking -- washington and martha washington? guest: there's some evidence it was not good. mary did not attend the marriage, but that could have been because of distance. attendary did not georgia martha's wedding? [over talk] guest: their wedding, yes i beg your pardon. on the other hand, one time washington wrote a letter to his mother-in-law, martha's mother, and said please come and visit
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us in mount vernon. we have lots of food, lots of visitors, lots of room, lots of music, you will have a great time. at the same time, he writes a letter to his mother to say don't visit us on mount vernon, there are too many people here, you won't like the food, there is not enough room, and the music is too loud. host: very clear how he felt there. guest: exactly. host: did mary ball washington ever go to mount vernon? guest: no. , before it wasce mount vernon, before his brother lawrence -- when his brother lawrence owned it, he raining -- afterd it mount vernon someone he served under. there was evidence mary may have gone to the creek to plead with george not to go join the british army and fight in the ohio valley, to fight the french and indian wars, but it is can't evidence. i tend to believe -- it is scant
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evidence. i believe she never visited mount vernon. host: let's go back to our callers, rick calling from las cruces, new mexico. caller: good morning. shirley toe mr. comment on anything he knows about those allowances he mentioned, that george washington provided his mother. i seem to have read somewhere he expected those to be paid back. he viewed those as loans. is that correct? guest: he wrote them down in his diaries. he was meticulous, as it sounds like you know about all of his financial transactions and his acreage and what was being produced, and the number of tobacco, andes, other things like that. i'm not sure i recall them being -- he may have listed them as dead, but i don't expect -- debt, but i don't think he
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expected to be repaid. she did not have the income to repay, and i think he felt like it was his duty to give his mother these allowances. and, they varied from time to time. sometimes they were larger, sometimes they were smaller, but interestingly, the last time they met, which i mentioned earlier, he brought -- the last time they met before he went to new york to become president, he took an allowance to his mother, and she refused it saying she was fine and had enough money. it was clear in her mind that it was not something he owed her, not something she demanded, but he was giving it out of the kindness of his heart, and he may have recorded in his diaries or ledgers as a debt, but he never expected to collapse -- collect on it. host: martha is calling from charleston, south carolina. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for another great
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book. i'm looking forward to reading it. mentioned caller never caught by eric armstrong dunbar, the story of george the slavespursuing that ran away in philadelphia to freedom. owna judge was martha washington's helper in everything she did, so george pursued that. a's an amazing history, national book award, thinks to c-span. i read it and bought it and i will buy your book. id george know, d visit his mother in fredericksburg, and is there a possibility that maybe his mother destroyed the letters that may have been exchanged during the controversial revolutionary war, anything like that?
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guest: that's a good point. very possibly. we know martha destroyed all the letters george wrote her, which is invaluable history lost. there were many letters george wrote martha, which she burned after his passing. that maryble destroyed letters, but there is at anyence he wrote it one time. who is to say. we have one -- host: we have one of our social media followers which would like to know what is mary ball washington view on slavery -- was mary ball washington's view on slavery? guest: she was a person in her time and culture. she never expressed any type of opposition to it, or anything i could find, or any regret over it. she simply accepted it. she had her house slaves, slaves
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farm,y farm, and -- fairy and it was just part of the culture and colonial america, especially in the south. host: that her slaves come through her marriage, or did she inherit them from her parents? guest: she inherited -- that's a great point. when her parents died, she inherited several slaves, and when her husband died, she inherited more slaves. host: do we know, did she go out and actively purchase more or were there all inherited? guest: there is no evidence he -- that is something a woman in the culture and time would have done, it would have been done by one of her sons, family friend, or george. but there's no evidence. it's one of those missing gaps of history as to why she obtained -- how she obtained slaves other through inheritance. host: let's go back to the caller, fred, calling from virginia.
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good morning. caller: good morning. i would like to find out the circumstances of mary ball to george moving washington -- from george washington's earth place to ferry farm. i don't know the circumstances. you're talking about west moreland county where george washington's birthplace was. it was simply a matter of i believe, convenience, because after augustine had died, she needed to be near where she could easily obtain food and a safer setting than the rural part of virginia. sense for hermade to move to fredericksburg from westmoreland county. host: i want to read a little
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more from your book here. for all ofyour book, mary's faith and devotion, in the end, her motherly love may have been as much about authority as affection. it was thus george washington came to manhood, under the maternal hand, as he wrote, of mary ball washington. it made him the man he was, stubborn, singular, and independent. how should we remember mary ball washington? what should be her place in american history? guest: i think her place in american history should be as the woman who raised the man who became the most important person in america. when george -- at the end of the american revolution, george goes to the continental congress meeting in baltimore, and apple lis,and he goes -- annapo
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and he goes and makes a speech, surrendering his sword and his commanding goes back to fredericksburg. when king george the third is told george washington has laid down his sword, like cincinnatus, to go back, he said he will be regarded as the greatest man in the world. that was the king of england who is the head of the british empire, which had dominion over so much of the world, who is now saying george washington would be regarded as the greatest man in the world. this is high praise. this is incredibly high praise. clear, it's clear these qualities, the integrity, the honesty, the courage, the , itsty, two term limit wasn't mandated by law but washington said two terms is enough and that became standard for all american presidents until franklin roosevelt. where did he get these from?
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he clearly got them from his mother, so she should be ofarded not as the founder america or anything like that at all, but simply the inspiration for the founding of america, or one of the great inspirations for the founding of america. that's really why i wanted to write the book because history has been so unkind to her over the last 250-300 years. host: you said earlier in the conversation there was a monument to mary ball washington , but in fredericksburg, andrew jackson did the dedication for it. monuments,ny other any other things named after mary washington that we can see now? guest: mary washington university in fredericksburg -- host: and that was named directly after her? guest: yes. there is a library in lancaster, various streets in fredericksburg named after her, and i'm sure i'm forgetting
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other things, but she is being -- by the way, fredericksburg's baseball team, the nationals, the minor league team owned by the washington nationals, just adopted mary ball washington as their mascot. character -- caricature of her and george hitting a ball with an ax, the xo chopped down the cherry tree. little cartoons ash the acts -- axe thatthat -- chopped down the cherry tree. host: let's go to bill calling from connecticut. good morning. caller: my question for your guest is that he said george washington's mother was conflicted over their relationship with england. was george himself ever conflicted? guest: sure. there were over eight made on
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behalf -- ovations made on behalf of the colonies to great -- i think ity to was called the olive branch initiative, to try to get parliament and king george the third to lay off the taxes and, they would stay loyal to the they wouldxes, and stay loyal to the crown. george washington was also immersed in that culture. brothervious of his who served in the british navy, was very respectful. americans to for throw off the british crown and declare themselves free and independent, and no longer subjects of the british crown quicker,rs came to a you know, sam adams and john hancock and others came to the revolution quickly.
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washington came to its more slowly. host: you've called this book ogrophy a history --historyography. rather than a biography. mazza different? guest: a -- why is that different? is all facts.aphy i would say 80% of that is fact based in the other 20% is based on speculation. host: based on what you know as an expert in your research. guest: exactly. richardt's talk to who's calling from albuquerque, new mexico. richard, good morning. caller: good morning. we are talking about history here, and on the time of george washington, we have seen the
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tariffs and all of that everything, but i just want you to get it right for everybody. i feel like you are a good historian. guest: that's very kind. were not related, ari? -- are we? caller: let's talk about the slavery issue. that was the norm for everybody. but, when abraham lincoln come in to be president, can you explain to everybody over here that abraham lincoln, the wentse of everything that down in the civil war was because of tariffs and taxes. when the south wanted to separate themselves from the itons, and along came with to free the slaves. but, it was all about the tariffs and taxes. -- thent lincoln
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confederates separate themselves from the union, if they did, they would be strong. can you weed out everybody that thinks it was because of the war to free slavery. that wasn't the issue. it was because of the taxes and tariffs and everything. host: i'm not an expert -- guest: i'm not an expert on abraham lincoln, but i think the debate was settled many years ago that the civil war was about civil rights. it was about freedom for african-americans. it was the very foundation of the republican party, which was elected in 1860. 1860 on limiting slavery, but he quickly evolved into an abolitionist, and that is what the war was about, about slavery.
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host: how long did it take you to write this book? how long was the research and writing? what was the process? guest: about four years. where i started, jesse, was getting a contract from a publisher, which always helps. the same with all of my books, i tried to assemble as much information as possible, and immerse myself in as much information as possible, then i would start sketching out the chapters as to what i think. i like to write chronologically because i think that makes it more interesting for the reader, and more logical for the reader instead of jumping around here and there. book is about mary's birth, life, death, and everything that happened in between. about 80on reagan are campaign and the conclusion of the 80 campaign.
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my book on december of 1941 is about 31 days of december and how it changed the united states before pearl harbor and after pearl harbor. i assemble as much information read as,le, and are digested, talk about it, think about it. typically, what i would do is that, each morning, i would assimilate new information, right in the afternoon. in the evening, i would give what i written -- i have written to my wife, and she edits all my books. everything i write, she edits. my op-ed's as well. in the evening, she would edit the various pages i have written, give it to me the next morning, and i would take her what and input it -- input i have written, or corrections, and start the whole process again. i don't typically work on the weekends, but we do have a
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write,, edit, research, edit, research, write. -- i can jumpythm into a book, but i would much prefer to stay with the book from beginning to end until i finish it. this book took four years. all of my books on reagan took three to four years. my book on world war ii -- december 1941 took three years. my book on newt gingrich took three years. they usually take three to four years. host: and you are able to be edited by your wife and stay married. guest: yeah. i would say, we joke about that. i've discovered the habits of other writers, and their wives. mark twain, for instance, wrote most of his in hartford and was in a third floor office 10 and he drew a chalk line across the
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floor. nobody was allowed across the chalk line, not his daughters, the maids. the only want to cross the chalk line was his wife to edit his work. i'm trying to think of the writer, walter mitty. host: now that you said that, it has totally gone out of my mind. , jameshe was a server server, in the 1920's, one of those black-tie soirees with the champagne popping and people laughing and food and good times. he is just staring off into minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. finally, she yells at him and says james, stop writing. he was writing in his head. you probably do the same thing and i do the same thing. that's one of the things i
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learned, you are thinking about the book all the time. host: we would like to thank craig shirley for being here and he has his new book "martha ball washington." we need to make
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