tv Congressman Lincoln CSPAN July 15, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm EDT
he recounts lincoln's single term as a representative from illinois. he examines the future president's political thinking and personal life during his early career. this was recorded in 2013 at the changing hands bookstore in arizona, just over one hour. [applause] >> good evening, everyone. thank you for being here tonight. if you are looking for what is real food i regret to inform you it is later in the month. this is the meeting for, "congressman lincoln: the making of america's greatest president." thank you so much to c-span for hosting authors like me and letting us talk about what we do. and thank you for changing hands. this is the second event we have done here in over a year. chris: having bookstores like this is such a treasure. nobody can leave until every copy of the book is sold.
[laughter] chris: thank you for being here. the book is "congressman lincoln: the making of america's greatest president." what do i mean by greatest president? i mean most significant. at the end of the day, it was abraham lincoln to engage the south any civil war in order to preserve the union. it is abraham lincoln that result the slavery issue that had vexed the statesman back to the founding. and this story, why congressman lincoln? there are 16,000 books written about abraham lincoln. if you go to ford's theatre in washington dc, which is the final scene of the extraordinary story, you will see half that number piled to the ceiling. abouten i say books abraham lincoln, i do not mean about mary todd or the civil war , i mean about him. books about his time in congress, one of three political jobs he ever had.
the only other job he had in the federal government, besides president. there have only been three of them written and this is the third. the last one was written before i was born. this is the missing piece of the puzzle in the lincoln story. i think we are all very familiar with his hardscrabble upbringing. we know about his career in the illinois legislature. we know about his career in the court houses of illinois, handling of a variety of cases as a frontier lawyer. we are very familiar with the lincoln story as president. right? the author of the emancipation proclamation, the guy that wrote the gettysburg address. sixteenth president of the united states. the president who led the union during america's greatest moral and political crisis. and also during america's most tragic war. so this is the missing piece of the lincoln puzzle.
the first thing that i want to talk about is the ambition of abraham lincoln. you know, we like to associate ambition with a negative thing. someone who wants to go into politics, to be associated with campaigns in politics, we think about it as a negative thing today. so as a result, we try to think of him as being above the muck and the dirty campaigning, the negative campaigns, everything that we dislike about our modern political system. the truth is, we cannot make those criticisms without leveling them at abraham lincoln. called,t chapter is "the most ambitious man in the world." it is a quote about abraham lincoln from his law partner, william herndon. abraham lincoln, from the earliest time in his life, his family members would attest he was hungry to be somebody. once he got in trouble, she said behaving like that, the
what do you expect to be when you grow up? he told his sister, president of the united states. he said, there was never a time in my life where i do not believe i would be president of the united states. he worked hard to make something of himself and to make his life one that would be remembered. one that we would talk about today. his ambition, where does that take him? he served in the illinois house of representatives. in 1843, he makes his first bid for congress. he writes a friend of his, he says, if you hear anybody say that mr. lincoln does not wish to go to congress, i wish you to tell them they are very much mistaken. the truth is, i would like to go very much. lincoln has two major obstacles in his way. one of them is a gentleman named his.d baker, a friend of one of his sons is named after baker. another one is john hardin. they have similar qualifications to lincoln.
they are all about the same age. they are all three lawyers. and members of the illinois legislature. or former members. they all have similar qualifications. so lincoln, his first hurdle he has to get over is the county convention. his home county and the home county of edward baker, they will nominate delegates to districtwide congressional meeting where the nominees are going to be chosen. illinois is heavily democratic at this time. if you are an ambitious person district wasthis your only hope to move up. you are not going to be elected governor or chosen for the u.s. senate where legislature. if you are an upwardly mobile whig, this was your shot. so lincoln have to outmaneuver baker at the convention. unfortunately, does not go as planned. he throws in the towel around noon and one newspaper recorded if he had just hung in until
nightfall his supporters would have shown up later in the day and maybe odd-numbered supporters for bigger. as it stands, lincoln ends up as a pledge delegate for the districtwide convention, pledged to baker. he said it was similar to being the guy that gets cut out of a relationship, gets his girlfriend stolen from him and many have to stand up in the wedding. so baker is defeated by hardin. now you have hardin that is younger than him, and he's going to be there as long as he wants. lincoln can see the dream of going to congress disappearing very quickly. abraham lincoln comes up with an idea. i do not think there is a way to know how close it would be between baker and hardin. he offers a resolution and says, we congratulate hardin on his victory and we recommend baker as a nominee in two years. before hardin is even sworn in,
he has a resolution of this hanging over his head. and he announces he will not serve a second form -- term. turn andrdin gets a baker gets a turn, who gets a turn after that? abraham lincoln. so now he has to wait until 1846. slogan turnabout is , fair play. he is not going to try to take shots hardin. they agree on the issues. everybody in politics knows that sometimes when you are in a political primary, the toughest in their between those own party. he stays away from that, lincoln stays away from negative campaigning. he says turnabout is fair play. ,it works. hardin decides not to run again. lincoln in 1846 is the unanimous choice in illinois.
and he has to go up against a democrat, the guy was named peter cartwright. he is a preacher, not like any you have seen before. he is a guy that has had his tent revivals interrupted by people who he later assaulted. he was a tough guy. there is a story about him getting put up in a swank new york hotel and he got lost. so he used a hatchet to blaze a trail on the walls so he would know how to get back to his room. this is who lincoln has to go up against. [laughter] chris: and the lincoln is actually very successful. he has the biggest majority in the district, bigger than baker's majority and hardin's majority, now he has a gear and -- a year and a half until he is sworn in. he rides the circuit and he continues to go to court. he continues to try these cases and handle cases. tend to the affairs of his family. the last case that he handles before he heads to washington is a slave case.
think about this. it will be incredibly important when we see how abraham lincoln, where he is at after he leaves congress. so malcolm was a slave owner from kentucky chasing a slave of his in the illinois court, trying to bring him back to kentucky. and lincoln his entire life, he is exposed to slavery, he is born in kentucky and he spent some of his earliest years in kentucky. he grows up in a county where there are 750 people and 1000 slaves. and he grows up near the cumberland road. he could see people shackled, on their way to wherever they were going. he saw it up close. it was something lincoln was familiar with. and lincoln goes down to new orleans as a riverboat captain, and he sees the biggest slave market in north america in new orleans and he sees the brutality of slavery and he
believes it is wrong, but he also recognizes that there are laws in place and he believes this gentleman has a case, said he represented mr. madsen. you would never see something like this from lincoln after he leaves congress. we will talk about what happened, soon. december of 1847, abraham lincoln is a member of the 30th congress. what is so fascinating, one of the most interesting things is who is there with him. so the most famous member of the 30th congress is john quincy adams, the former president. the only former president that served in the people's house. i think it is fascinating because this is the link between lincoln and the founding fathers. a short time they had to spend with one another, this is the link between lincoln and the founding fathers. you can imagine what kind of conversations they could have had. lincoln was so fascinated with washington. he was fascinated with the founding generation who got
behind the declaration of independence and put together the constitution, who started the new government, so you can imagine what kind of questions he had for john quincy adams. john quincy adams shortly into his tenure dies on the house floor, probably right in front of abraham lincoln. and i start the book, the prologue, talking about that. i think it is a good analogy. you have this generation, lincoln's generation. the one that's going to fight a civil war. they are the first generation that does not have the benefit of the council of the founding generation. all these people with all this experience running the american government, compromising on very serious issues, they were gone and they were left to settle the questions on their own. lincoln serves not only with john quincy adams, but also with a man named alexander stevens. stevens will go on to serve as the vice president of the confederacy. if anybody -- how many people have seen the lincoln movie?
yes, it's an excellent movie. when lincoln is in negotiations at the end and he is speaking with commissioners from the confederacy, one of them is actually stevens who was lincoln's best friend in the house of representatives, as close as two people could be. they were both whigs. and as we will talk about later, they both did a presidential campaign together. lincoln served with a jefferson davis, who was in the u.s. senate. and he became the president of the confederacy in america. lincoln's second vice president, the man who replaced him, andrew johnson. he was a member of the house with abraham lincoln. so many of these people that would later become critical in the civil war would become important to lincoln and his rise to the presidency, they were there in the 30th congress with him. it is fascinating to watch him
interact with these people before any of them could imagine what role they would play later in history. so what are the major issues when he goes to congress? nothing is bigger than the mexican-american war. they were trying to figure out , what is the endgame in mexico? this is something we could never imagine being in a prolonged war without ideas of how we are going to wrap it up. [laughter] chris: that was something that lincoln and his colleagues had to confront. lincoln was very content to let the matter lay until a result. president james polk said he would treat silence as acquiescence and support for the war. and lincoln could not be silent anymore. so his first major address as a member of congress, he gives something that would be known as the spot resolution speech. after his speech, people thought
that that was it for abraham lincoln. we have the principle of rotation, these people that served one term a piece and people are already talking about abraham lincoln running for reelection. as soon as he gets there. but after the spot resolution speech, no one is talking about abraham lincoln being in congress anymore. pretty clear that he is not going to run again. but why do they call it the spot resolution speech? every part of his resolution, if about the spot where blood was first shed in the mexican-american war, president polk said that american blood has been shed upon american soil. so you can picture this country lawyer, now he has a courtroom that is the marbled house of representatives. which is a statuary hall for those of you that have been to the capital. this was the meeting place when lincoln was a member of congress. and you can see a plaque where his desk was on the house floor.
he gave the speech from that spot, talking about where the mexican war began. and it was a really disputed territory, was it american territory or mexican territory? illinois has been a gun ho state for the war. a preacher was praying for the end of the war and he had to stop showing up because they threatened to lynch him. they thought it was negative comments on the war. you can imagine how it was received when abraham lincoln makes this a speech. a lot of things come out of the american mexican war, it would send them on a collision course for what followed. one of the things that came out of this was zachary taylor. zachary taylor is a very unlikely hero in america. he was somebody that had never voted. he was a rare career military man in a time when the american
military standing army was never very big. he made his career there. but he wins battle after battle. and at the top of the list was the battle of blue vista. after his -- battle of buena vista. after this, they wanted to take the rigler troops and send them with a general scott and make an amphibious landing the largest , one in american history up to that point. and leave taylor in the heart of mexico with a reduced force. a decision is made, they will go and destroy taylor's army. so zachary taylor ends up winning the battle, 4-1. in the process, john hardin, the former congressman, the one that tussled with abraham lincoln in 1846 congressional race, he died. ,t is one of those incidents writing about history i am so fascinated by the seemingly small things that conspired to
make great things happen on the world stage and in this case if , john hardin had lived, if you he had come back to illinois as a hero of the war, i think there was little chance abraham lincoln would have emerged as the head of the new republican party. or i think there is very little chance that he could've been the nominee for senate, twice from the republican party. but we will never know because he dies in the final minutes of the battle of buena vista. zachary taylor gets talked about as a potential presidential candidate. lincoln, along with alexander stevens, the future vice president of the confederacy, they are among the first seven supporters of zachary taylor and the house of representatives. so why the reluctance to embrace this war hero? a guy that could be the ticket to victory? simple, we do not know anything about where he stands. the party is against slavery and
zachary taylor owns slaves, he's one of the biggest slave owners in the country. he is opposed to the mexican-american war, zachary taylor loved it. he led the war. you can imagine there is reluctance to embrace this guy. lincoln, remember this guy we placed on a pedestal, he said we have tried running on principle long enough, let us try winning. [laughter] and so lincoln and the others, they call themselves the young indians. so they try to round up support for zachary taylor. there is another alternative. henry clay is making his final bid for the presidency. henry clay, former speaker of the house, former secretary of state and the founder of the whig party. the guy who embodied their ideals. in fact, abraham lincoln said that he was a man for whom i have fought for my entire adult
life. well, lincoln knows that clay cannot win. and while lincoln doesn't claim to have any special knowledge about what zachary taylor believes, he knows that that taylor can win. the choice is not between having a perfect whig party and zachary taylor, but the choice between having a democrat they know disagrees with them and a whig party member who they know agrees with them. and so if nothing else, they will help to build up the whig party. the whigs in the 1840s won their first presidential race. and of course, william henry henderson dies after 40 days. and they had not given it a lot of thought to who his vice president would be. he is basically a democrat, john tyler, who is kicked out of the party. and they are not able to win a presidential race since, so in their existence they have had the presidency for only about 30 days. they are eager for a winner. and while this person is closer
to our beliefs, this person can win, so it was something that the political parties were still struggling with even in the 1840's. so what were the other issues? well, shortly before the commencement of the mexican-american war, polk wins the presidency on this manifest destiny, they are destined to go to the pacific and the country is destined to grow and one of the things he says he will do is adjust the border with oregon. oregon at this point is being administered jointly with the united kingdom and poklk backside of the treaty. remember the famous slogan? line of latitude that they were going to stick to, but it never came close. it went into british columbia, almost alaska. so we have a brand-new territory of oregon.
anytime the u.s. acquires territory, they have a problem. keys that keeps the union together is the missouri compromise at this point. during the presidency of jameson monroe missouri came in as a , slave state. so they come up with a plan. out of this whole louisiana territory, they say we are going to draw a line in slavery will be permitted below this line, but not above this line. misery can come in as -- missouri can come in as a slave state. the state of maine can come in as a free state. and this fragile peace keeps the union together. now america has all this new territory, starting with oregon. and lincoln and his colleagues stick to their guns and they are fighting back and forth on how it will be constituted. one of the principles that soundssued was this, it absurd, but it provides that a new territory is not going to
have slavery. and if so lincoln and his colleagues are actually able to win it in the organization of the oregon territory. that is the climactic issue in his first term as a member of congress. he is getting his feet under him. he is giving a major address on the war. him standing up with the taxpayers against special interests to force congress to give them a contract that the postmaster general was not willing to give them, something i thought was fascinating. and while lincoln is a member of congress, he lived in a place that is nicknamed abolition house. the boarding house gets the nickname based on the people that lived there. joshua giddings is the chief among them. it is not a name that americans are very familiar with. it is unfortunate, because at this time joshua giddings is the premier abolitionist in the
united states. and they end up in the same boarding house. and getting has a profound effect on the thinking of lincoln. lincoln who believed slavery was wrong, but there is nothing to do to fix it. well, joshua is going to begin working on his thinking and begin the evolution and abraham lincoln's believes on slavery. so what did lincoln do with the recess of the first congress? he decides he is going to go all in for zachary taylor. so he goes on a campaign swing through the state of massachusetts on behalf of zachary taylor. and he said he was there to speak with the most elite groups of the country and shake the hayseed out of his hair. we are familiar with illinois as a frontier state. so for the first time in american history abraham lincoln is speaking before the most intelligent groups in the country. the opinion leaders.
and he is going there to speak on behalf of zachary taylor. what is interesting, he is not there to speak for zachary taylor against the democrat. the democrat will not win massachusetts unless a third party candidate by the name of martin van buren, who is running a ticket thatt, was created to oppose zachary taylor, he is trying to convince them that yes, this is a great thing, but martin van buren can't win and zachary taylor can win. so we need to make sure that we vote for zachary taylor to keep this guy out of the white house. what is interesting lincoln goes , to the philadelphia convention that nominates zachary taylor. it is in pennsylvania, it is his first trip. he had the chance to go to independence hall, just like many of you have been able to do. abraham lincoln does a lot of things in this book like we have
done as tourists. lincoln goes to mount vernon as a tourist. like many of us, he goes and pays respects to george washington. it is not a national park at the time, but he is there and the nephew of george washington is custodian of the grounds and he pays his respects to the first president, just like many of us have done. so he needs a lot of the future people at the convention who will be important. a gentleman by the name of thaddeus stevens, everyone can remember him. he is from pennsylvania. he was portrayed by tommy lee jones in the movie. this is the first meeting, they exchanged their first letters with congressman lincoln. and i was fascinated to be able to write about that. anyway, after the convention he , is touring massachusetts with his family. he is happy to be reunited with his family. every member of congress can tell you, when they are elected they have all this good advice,
take your family with you and it will be good for you to have your family in washington dc. leave your family at home, you don't want them getting infected by the swamp and dealing with anything associated with congress. and depending on which member of congress you ask, they will give you contrary advice. well, lincoln did both. childrenry brought the with them. he believes that they are sort of getting in his way, mary also had her expectations as well. if he was the most ambitious man in the world, she was the most ambitious woman in the world. mary todd lincoln, because of an accident of biology and chronology was born during a time when women couldn't vote, much less participate in the political process. she could not run for office. i think if she was born in a different generation, she would have. but she said, which was asked who she was looking for in a husband, she said she would marry the man who had the best chance of being president. [laughter]
chris: who would have guessed right? including stephen douglas, who bested lincoln every time they were up against each other to -- each other, except for the one time that mattered 1860 , presidential race. yes, so his family leaves and they go back to kentucky for the second half of the first session. then afterwards, they join him in his swing through massachusetts on behalf of zachary taylor. one more interesting anecdote from the trip, he meets another man that will figure prominently into his life and he goes to a place called fremont temple in boston. the speaker in front of him is a gentleman by the name of william stewart, who goes on to be the chief rival of lincoln for the 1860 nomination for president and goes on to serve as a secretary of state. so seaward gives a speech about slavery. they all went back to his hotel
room afterwards and lincoln said, you know, i have been thinking about your speech. and i have to say, we probably need to do something more about this slavery issue. it is not enough to be against it. we might actually need to take some action, and i will be the name of the game in the second session. one more interesting thing lincoln does with his break, lincoln is the first and only president ever to patent a device. when lincoln and his family are heading back from massachusetts, he he stops and pays a visit to the vice presidential nominee of the whig party. that is fillmore, who will be president in two years when general taylor dies. and they are taking a steamer through the great lakes to get back home to chicago. and lincoln sees the captain throwing everything from the boat overboard, trying to get all these, everything underneath over the santay t
barbara and he thought wouldn't , it be great if there was a device that could fill up and boost the boat above these barriers. he spent a lot of his time with his tolls so he can do this, send it to the patent office. of course, he will do this successfully just as congress is wrapping up. he will actually be the first and only president to be awarded the patent for this device. so back to congress and the winter of 1849. last session, zachary taylor has been elected president. still major issues to deal with. you cannot understand lincoln and his thinking about slavery, you cannot see the movie and wonder why lincoln was so dedicated to passing the slavery amendment, even at the expense of a prolonged civil war, unless you are familiar with his time and career in the 30th congress.
lincoln actually comes up with with a bill to abolish slavery in the district of columbia. first-ever legislation introduced by lincoln to limit slavery. and why washington? first place where they had jurisdiction. they can govern the district of columbia. so he quite stable of the opportunity to find a similar bill area. one of the other interesting issues -- had he not had formative experiences with slavery. claim againstyou
the federal government, -- that didn't exist yet. -- he was this multi-lingual, scholar. at the end of this war, he basically escaped. who's looking for money to compensate him. when he got to congress he wanted the law -- we have to compensate this man. lincoln, both against compensating the families -- but very little-known of them happened in congress. he was at the level vision house, boarding house serve , meals every day one of the
waiters was of black slave working there to work off his freedom. we don't know his name. his price was $300 in a $60 a way. he was kidnapped at gunpoint and said the way as a slave. we don't know if he was freed by the union army or died, we don't know but imagine this guy who was serving your food he tells about his wife and he is free than one day she tries to get you to help find him because he has been kidnapped at gunpoint how could do not appreciate this evil for what it is the house needs to be stopped. but every american was the first to deal with fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, standoff, a government shutdown,
lincoln in the 30th congress were the first with the major appropriations bill and it is a clean bill that whigs saw tries to increase the payment for those offices they think a will hold. [laughter] nothing to controversial. but walker from wisconsin and attaches a rider prohibiting, excuse me allowing president polk to establish the new territory that we have
gotten from the mexican-american war to organize a in a way he sees fit. president pulled thinks we should extend the line to the pacific ocean. so right now in arizona would be slave territory. with the intermountain west and california and if we will allow slavery. lincoln every single time votes against the bill and is willing to shut down the government. the house goes back and forth the house tries to change it up to leave it ambiguous but either way willis led government will shut down. when lincoln polls of special session was no sooner than july 4th but in march space be sworn in for a year-and-a-half nobody would get there before summer see you have diplomats leaving every consulate overseas and shutting down and the
laughingstock of the world but is willing to accept this rather than open new acres to slavery. said to be accused of using it for political reasons especially in a state like ellen no way was the slave states would not have proceeded unless from the convictions of his car. he deals with the first fiscal cliff and a fight if congress is even still congress. some are saying are we still congress? today is march 1st -- march 4th. the government will shut down. the majority did not agree with the interpretation the bill goes to president polk he signed as his last duty in office. sworn in on monday there was a great inaugural ball and lincoln is the great party planner as a little-known fact. he raised money for the washington
monument and he had money to help get it started but was there for the cornerstone july 4th july 4th, 1848. on the planning committee for a sack retailer at the metro stop washington d.c. one of the biggest parties in washington and lincoln goes home at 3:00 in the morning he can find his cloak but not his hat. said he has to walk along the in the cold when french never forgot the story we've never forget the sight of that man walking out in
judiciary square just in all these 12 years later the festivities would be for him. nobody saw the path he would take. the book concludes with him trying to get a job in the illustration. this time there is a talk of a meteor, it does during the years. and 12 years later when they meet again with said general land office is a good thing he fails as a bureaucrat is not off moving to the forefront of the republican party, and not the senate but at the time he was depressed and was passed over. he went back to
the hotel and made on his bet for an hour and thought it was the end of his career. history had something better in storer for mr. lincoln. one-term congressman and headed back to illinois like nothing happened. then he also becomes the first president to argue a supreme court case. i think this is great as a lawyer with statutes of limitation most recently the 1990's and i bet they did not even realize who's the famous lawyer was targeted for the first time. this is the story of abraham lincoln where he came with the politicians and at the presidency 12 years later only this experience watching president polk up close is what he has going for him and watching zachary taylor put together administration improbably as an example of what not to do. i will take questions. thank you for your attention [applause] >> you talking your book abraham lincoln was a great storyteller.
boring speeches was the house post office just adjacent to the floor of the house where people could kick back and gossip and talk about people and lincoln goes in there around christmas 1840's seven. he works up courage to tell stories and self. people remember that he was a captain during the black hawk war achieved came back across the mississippi river, the sellers are terrified what happened to them so they quickly put together a militia. lincoln is elected the cap sandy considered an honor anything greater than he had done, a greater than anything i have never done before. he talks about guiding these troops across the prairie. they come to a fence and he tries to figure
out a command and he thinks about it and cannot come up with it. he cannot come up with the command but these people trust him to go into battle. he says this company is dismissed for two minutes and then we will reassemble on the other side of the fence. [laughter] somebody remembered that decades later when abraham lincoln after he became famous people would write stories about him trying to remember what they could about this man. many believed he was an extraordinary person destined for big things. >> said tread scott decision were is that and the timeline? >> that is something he was totally opposed to. there is a number of positions you can take with the american in territories
saw one position was the extreme and the you to take slavery the missouri compromise is unconstitutional but lincoln has done the exact opposite no matter what we are not expanding slavery and healways does so but then you have president polk plan with the missouri compromise line and james mckinnon who was secretary of state is of the same mind. teams began in comes out a couple-- after he is sworn in. he thinks it will be a good thing for his presidency and then seven states
will secede from the union. they said it is good the supreme court decided. we will have slavery no one will question it. [laughter] the opposite is true. lincoln is opposed, ed dred-scott pules the rise of the republican party to the north and paves the way for abraham lincoln to become president of united states. said lincoln was very much opposed. >> did lincoln ever have any accomplishments in his one term after he left congress? >> he had a number of them. the conventional wisdom thewas mediocre, and they cannot pass up a chance to say he is undistinguished, i absolutist reacting he was very
distinguished and this is not very academic but he was a driving force between the omnibus post office bill. we can mail anywhere five days a week even in the grand canyon but the limited mail route dictated where you live or did business. lincoln was on the roads committee the was a member of and he could help kraft this bill with procedural setbacks but get it passed signed by the president's opening rounds for people to live in the business for i have held that bill in my hands and his handwriting is all over it. it is interesting to see what will this take to get your vote? he could wheel and
deal with the best of them in the 30th congress. also to compensate people in the district if they owe you money but lincoln would apply for patents for people , he would go get your passport, he would go as a secretary of state for your passport. we were a smaller government back then members of congress good at home or washington the very few are both. he was deaf on and washington. his evolution speech at the time was very influential as part of the whigs -- president polk decides they take too long now he wants the whole
winfield scott was to escort back to catch and shipped to mexico. he is stuck city decides i will negotiate the end of the war in the treaty is sent back to president polk he is outraged and ejected tailored misstate -- administration to compensate for expensive but president polk cannot send the treaty to the senate after he publicly said the terms and it is everything he asked for initially before he changed his mind to get the whole thing. lincoln and his colleagues very, very successful. with the hands on the omnibus postal will and benefits those in his district, he is a player with the issues of "war and peace." >> you have
shared a desk with some cool characters. had to interact with these guys? what is a process for finding the next turn in finding the next turn in your narrative? >> it was great fun to research. had to add value to lincoln's story it is only the third book of him in congressin history there are so many books so i will look at letters of his colleagues from the 30thcongress most people have not even looked sue their letters. one example of a house mate from abolition house his papers are in
harrisburg pennsylvania. the curator it asking questions and i said is there anybody there who it is more familiar if it is worth the trip? he said in the 30 years i have been here now lenin is looking at these so i am looking at these papers nobody has ever look back. it took me to 13 states. somebody asked me if i had to go to all 50 states to elect all members of the congress. [laughter] the answer was no. [laughter] i figured i would leave out the hawaii delegation hoping they didn't write anything to bad. so i would read the letters in people did not even microfilm them. that is the worst part of my job. when they see something interesting i type it down and have a note where i got it then they put them into a word file that i presented them off and i
cross of the footnote as they use it in the manuscript. you start with a foundation once i had all the correspondence reaching 46 for use that as a foundation in chronological order that is the easiest way to understand. then the correspondence of other people, of the diary of joshua, the newspaper that iran transcriptions of congress, the house journal echoes in rid is supposed to then they try to
turn it into a book with historical data points. call folia have done that. that is a good question. the first time i did not know what the heck i was doing or getting into the second book i had a good process i look forward to it was the third book. >> i am under the understanding lincoln was a pallbearer for john quincy adams. what relationship did they have? >> i have seen that in so many places but he is not a pallbearer, he is on the committee created to oversee the
funeral arrangements, so they have a member from every state on the committee i think he is the only whigs from illinois they call him the lone star i think that is why he gets the honor there were fifth 50 states but -- for not city-state's but a lot of congressmen so they hammered out the details and he was on the subcommittee. i could put the two of them at a party where quincy adams was sitting by the door greeting everyone who came in. remember the hamptons roads conference at the end of the movie negotiating the civil war? there is a story stevens reminded lincoln of remember the time the illinois delegation had a fight over how to pronounce the name illinois? back then people disagree so they bring in john quincy adams to mitigate you can get a former secretary of state to mitigate
petty disputes before we had and i fell. [laughter] they said how to pronounce it? judging buy you guys i think it is pronounced all the noise. [laughter] >> he was good of finding mentors and people in politics remember lincoln former -- father was a former who was an orphan his entire life. he needed to find mentors mentors, he needed to find people i cannot imagine a better person thanjohn quincy adams. he is describing of being in all of them. this former president of high stature, worked for president washington, madison, monroe, no question lincoln would have sought him out but i
try to make the best guess but neither of them ever recorded it. >> but the abolitionist? >> he was. john quincy adams was a huge abolitionist fighting the gag rule. >> briefly mentioning his father a thing about his relationship with his dad as adults? >> it is not a great one but we don't know exactly what happens. when heis racing back to washington d.c. he gets the employment from zachary taylor he hears his father is deathly ill and stops by the father's home so he does that may be jeopardized as getting the appointment but in the final hours of his father's life
lincoln said i don't think any good can come of me being there. said use your imagination he has always dealt fairly fairly, renowned for integrity, have a forgiving nature and never held grudges. you can only imagine what would have been the case to set him off when he actually passes away. not a great relationship but one person said i liked the way he treated his father and was too indulgent of his children i am sure that was because he did not have that as a child and wanted his children to be happy no matter what. they
drove people and abolition house crazy. i will not quote them verbatim as we're on a family friend of one negative family friendly channel on c-span and he's said is lincoln kids went to the bathroom in his hat to. [laughter] but congress tried to keep him in the loop and make them feel they've been in the decisionmaking process even though he already made the decision. it hurt many and volunteers for the civil war in congress increases appropriations that what we ask for. if he was very mindful of and president polk decided to run for president is the cannot make a public pronouncement of
representing a day important constituent, ethnic group, many were elected officials, lincoln knows when you lose public support for a war and you lose congress, the war is over he knew he could defeat the south and restore the union but not with his hands tied behind his back. so they're very mindful as a member of congress and is very successful to avoid problems. >> you wrote lincoln was very depressed and unhappy with his marriage to mary todd. did it get better? >> it was always a difficult relationship. he did try to break offonce today it is not like breaking an engagement if you go all the way to being gauged then a woman was damaged
goods. it damage prospects for marriage and he made her unhappy one of the nicest people could not live with himself knowing he made someone so unhappy so when he thought he would marry her he would get ready at his best friend's house and the sun said where you going? he said to hell, i suppose. [laughter] so we know he spent time in the eighth circuit more than he needed. [laughter] half of the year going courthouse to courthouse every other member if they could get home they would do it, but not lincoln sitting in the county seat by himself and he preferred that to being
with his wife. he loved her very much. but they had problems. we're out of time. . . >> here from the best-known american history writers every saturday. you can watch any of our programs, visit our website, c-span2/history. you're watching american history tv, all weekend every weekend on the span three. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public servi