tv QA with David Mc Cullough CSPAN July 4, 2017 10:05am-11:04am EDT
later this afternoon. members of congress have been weighing in with their plans for the holiday. south carolina congressman mark sanford, is headed to hilton head. in new jersey, representative gottheimer sent this. ♪ >> this week on q&a, historian david mccullough. he discusses his book, the american spirit, who we are and what we stand for.
brian: david mccullough, your from 1989,peeches when did you get the idea to do this. last summer. the summer of 2016. i was not discouraged, but distressed by the tone of the political campaign and the animosity and nastiness of some of it. i thought, i've got to do something to help bring some balance back and remind people of who we are and how we got to be where we are, and what we stand for. i thought, i've been speaking up
and down the land for 40 years or more. maybe some of those speeches, if we dusted them off and put them together, not as an anthology, but speeches where i'd addressed ideas or subjects that pertain to reminding us about who we are and what our values have been down the years. and my daughter, who has been arranging all my speaking dates all these years, wanted very much to help with it. she had whatever records we had. many of those speeches, there was no record of what i said. but we had enough that there were manuscripts of it. i never wanted to give a commencement speech or speech
celebrating some important national event or anniversary. that i didn't put it on paper. just wing it. i love to speak, and have been able to speak often my whole working life. i have been able to speak without notes. it took a while to learn how to do that, but i did. but even though i can do that, i felt in many instances that i must commit my notes to paper and work on it. some of the speeches i would work on for a week or more. what i really wanted to say, particularly if i thought it was an occasion of importance to our country. and there are four of those
speeches in the group, and reading them again after many years, i thought they hold up. there were some that didn't hold up, but i didn't include those. there were some that were too first-person singular, and i didn't include those. my dedication in the book is to our grandchildren. brian: 19. david: 19 of them, that's right. so i am reaching out to that generation with the hope that they might draw some guidance or inspiration or motivation from what the old boys said in the days past. my publisher, i did know how they would react to the idea, and they were enthusiastic from the beginning. thank goodness.
i think they have done a beautiful job of publishing with the photographs and archival material that they have reproduced. brian: in the meantime, are you writing another book? david: i am. the subject of the book is touched on in one of these speeches, the speech i gave at ohio university in athens. i got very involved in the history of ohio when i was writing my book about the wright brothers. a really fascinating aspect of the american story when you think of who came from ohio and how relatively fast ohio produced so many remarkable people. more of our presidents then come from any other state, thomas edison, the wright brothers. and if you include the northwest territory, which is what much of
the book is about, you have abraham lincoln, and it goes on and on. the northwest territory was a subject i knew nothing about, and very briefly, the northwest was ceded to us by the british at the end of the revolutionary war and the treaty of paris in 1783. it was a brilliant stroke of genius on the part of john adams and others who were the diplomats at that occasion. because what they ceded to us equaled in size the entire area of the original 13 colonies. in other words we doubled the , size of our country geographically, physically, with one stroke of the pen. and there was nobody except native americans living there, no settlements, no towns. nothing.
there were squatters and traders and fur dealers and trappers, and so forth but no settlement. , the idea that was cooked up by this fellow cutler, and others from around boston was to create a way of paying back to the veterans of the revolution who never received any money for their service, they received certificates. by the time the war was over, all of that was virtually worthless, about $.10 on the dollar. this would be a way to provide the sale of land, primarily farmland, to these veterans at about eight cents an acre.
and as most people don't know, and i didn't know, there was a very severe depression following the revolution, as bad or worse as the great depression in the 1930's. everything was way down. it was hard as can be to get by and make a living. the man who put that bill through the continental congress the summer of 1787, just before the constitution and president, we had no presidents yet, was this man who was a minister and a doctor and lawyer, and a brilliant botanist, astronomer. he was an 18th-century polymath. at the ultimate peak.
very much like benjamin franklin, and he was often compared to benjamin franklin in that respect. cutler sold congress on the idea of creating this territory to comprise five states. and in those five states -- this is what is so exciting about it there would be complete freedom of religion, government support and public support for education all the way through college, and state universities came to be, and there would be no slavery. now there were slaves in all 13 , colonies in the summer of 1787, but they passed this ordinance, the northwest ordinance, so there would be no slaves in half of the
geographical reach of our country. it also meant that the ohio river -- northwest met northwest of the ohio river -- the ohio river now, if you could get across it, you were free. that's where the advent of the underground railroad came about. it was one of the most important decisions congress ever made, and this one guy pulled it off. i thought, whoa, who is he? and i got to know him. once i got to know him and learn ed what happened consequentially, i thought, this is a great book. it all began when i was invited to come to ohio university to give the commencement speech the year they were celebrating the creation of the university. the central building is cutler
hall. appreciatefficiently how much education mattered to the founders, and how much emphasis they put on education as being essential to whether the whole idea of democracy was going to work. jefferson said, any nation that expects to be ignorant and free, expects what never was and never could be. that idea of the importance of education i think is extremely pertinent, relevant, and important today as it ever was. i think one of the things we americans don't sufficiently appreciate -- there is a lot that we have and have achieved that we don't sufficiently appreciate, but one of them is our college and university system. yes, they have got very expensive, too expensive.
and some have gotten too politically correct or incorrect or whatever. but we have created the greatest universities and colleges in the world, and we have more of them than any country in the world. and now the percentage of who gets to go to college keeps rising steadily. i don't know about how it was with you but my father didn't go to college. he graduated from high school, and that was thought to be pretty good. that aspect of trying to reach greater understanding through learning in order to perfect society, to improve the problems that need to be solved and so forth is one of the major lessons of our story as a people. brian: you point out in the book that the northwest ordinance creates basically ohio, indiana, illinois, wisconsin, and michigan.
this speech was given at ohio university in 2004. why do you agree to go there? david: they invited me to come and give a speech on the year on the bicentennial. brian: how long did you take to get ready for this speech? david: i had been spending about four years in ohio working on the wright brothers book. i was not living there, but going back and forth. i got very interested in the history, both people from the past and present day people. when i was invited to give the commencement speech in this fascinating state, it was the first university west of the allegheny mountains, so i thought i would love to. i just did the digging and did my homework and ran into this
guy cutler. brian: manasseh cutler. david: he also went to yale. i found out for three years he lived on martha's vineyard running a store there, and two of his sons were born there on the vineyard not very far from our house. near edgartown. and to get to ohio, you have to him go through pittsburgh, my hometown. so it was in the stars. i had to do it. brian: how long is the perfect speech? in minutes. david: in my judgment or in general? brian: in your judgment. david: no more than 20 minutes. brian: why? david: because you are part of a ceremony, the ceremony has many
elements, and you don't want to hog more space than you should. i have never been told how long or short my speech could be. if i am invited to come to a university to address a general audience, then it is expected that your talk will run about 45 minutes. brian: let's look at a speech that was given back in 1989 to kick off this book. you gave this speech in the joint sessions of the house. how often has that happened to a historian? david: someone who is not in the congress is very rarely ever invited to address a joint session. if it is, it is somebody like the president of another country or the pope or general lafayette. so it was a very high
compliment. brian: let's watch a little bit of it just so we can -- david: i've never seen it. >> the 20th century senator who has been written about the most is joe mccarthy. there are a dozen books about mccarthy, yet no biography of the senator who had the backbone to stand up to him first, margaret chase smith. " i speak as a republican, she said on that memorable day in the senate. "i speak as a woman. i speak as a united states senator. i speak as an american. i don't want to see the republican party ride to victory on the four horsemen of calumny, fear, ignorance, bigotry, and smear." brian: do you remember how you went about preparing for that speech? david: hardest i've ever worked on anything i have ever delivered from a podium. that line just then, i just
recently looked up calumny again. make sure i know what it means. untruthful, audacious defamation of somebody else's character. brian: joe mccarthy. david: then there is a wonderful line. let me just see. i can't quote it offhand. president,n, he was had been president, the speech 1954.ven in harry truman later said to senator smith, "your declaration of conscious -- of conscience was one of the finest things that has happened here in
washington in all my years in the senate and the white house." he was of the other party. but he saw what courage that took, and he knew a lot about courage and strength of character. he was never reluctant to praise somebody who disagree with him on the other side politically if he felt they deserved praise. brian: here's a speech august 5, 1994 at monticello. >> the declaration of independence was not a creation of the gods, but of living men, and let us never forget, extremely brave men. they were staking their lives on what they believed, pledging as jefferson wrote in the final passage of the declaration, "our
lives, our fortunes, or sacred brian: howed honor." has jefferson done in history? david: he's having a little trouble, and he will have more because there is an awful lot about his time and his nature that seems inconsistent and hypocritical, but we should never, ever dismiss someone whose values accounted in the long run because aspects of their way of life are no longer tolerable. brian: why do you think the founding fathers came up with "we are all created equal," and didn't really seem to me to? -- didn't seem to mean it. david: some of them.
john adams never owned a slave. brian: but many presidents did have slaves. david: it doesn't gel, it doesn't jive. the pieces of the puzzle don't fit. i think what it was his people were appalled by slavery, and hated slavery, and there were a lot of them. it wasn't just john adams and abigail and their son john quincy. a lot of people who went out to ohio, for example, to settle him -- to settle that territory, they didn't want slavery because they didn't like slavery. they thought it was evil. but i think the original founders who were against slavery thought we will never pull all these colonies together, which were really as different as foreign countries were from one another, we will never get ahead with it if we don't tolerate this for a while. but when you think that with one
stroke of the pen, the members of congress in 1787 eliminated slavery completely in this vast territory. what if they had done it for the whole deal? then. or what if the government prior to the civil war had offered to buy the slaves? it would have been a bargain price compared to the horrific cost of that war. i'm just talking financially, let alone the lives lost. brian: may 30, 1998, a speech at the university of massachusetts at the graduation. >> from history, we learn that sooner is not necessarily better. that what we don't know can indeed hurt us very often and badly, and that there is no such
thing as a self-made man or woman. we all got where we are, as did everyone before us, with the help of others. brian: you say that in the book more than once. can you name somebody that has helped you that otherwise you wouldn't have gotten to where you are? david: my mother, my father, my brothers. at least three teachers in grade school. at least five teachers in high school. at least seven or eight professors in college. brian: is there a teacher you have never talked about that you could tell us about? david: well, i have talked about many of them. mitch schmalz, was a science teacher in grade school. she was a magical teacher. she got you interested in whatever it was she wanted you to be interested in. she assigned one of her classes
-- pittsburgh is the city of bridges. there are more bridges in pittsburgh and there are in -- then there are in paris. she got one of her classes building little matchstick models of different bridges in pittsburgh. those finished models were all around the windows in her room. her room was my homeroom in seventh grade. she was interested in everything, it wasn't just science. whatever she taught, she made it interesting. i remember we did not build those bridges but i remember being absolutely thrilled by those little bridges. i got very interested in bridges and would wind up writing one of my books about the building of the brooklyn bridge, which was built by the roebling's, who came from very near pittsburgh.
the old man, john roebling, built his first bridge in pittsburgh. so it connects, no doubt about it. the teacher who really meant more to me in many ways than any other of the whole chorus of great teachers was vincent scully at yale, who taught the history of architecture. art and architecture but mainly architecture. i was, as were thousands of students over the years he taught, swept off my feet by his lectures. unbelievable. he made it possible for you to see in a way you had never seen before just by showing you what he saw, what he could translate from the visual image for you into the english language.
and he was a genius. is a genius. he is still living. brian: were you a straight a student? david: no, i horsed around a little bit. yes i got a lot of good grades. i wasn't very good in physics. i was a very good in the subjects taught by teachers i thought were boring. it is too bad, but i did fine. i graduated with honors. i was given a lot of awards. i loved to paint. i still paint. my enthusiasm was divided between writing and painting. still is. for me, painting is a release from my work because in painting, you don't have to use any words.
brian: your book on the northwest ordinance, what is the timetable on that one? david: i hope to have it finished by the end of next year to be published in the spring of 2019. brian: november 1, 2000, you spoke at the white house about the white house on the 200th anniversary. >> john adams could be proud, main, short tempered. he was also brilliant, warmhearted, humorous. a devoted husband and father, and a lifelong talker. an all-out, full-time talker. brian: are you a talker? david: am i ever. [laughter] when you said he was a talker, --
brian: who would be dominating the conversation? david: he would, because i would respect him to bring myself in. i think it's in our irish blood. i think that's how we survived all those hundreds of years was little to live on. we just kept talking. my father was a great talker. brian: what about your kids? david: oh yeah, i got three or four way ahead of me. brian: how many of the 19 grandchildren have read this? david: one so far, because they haven't gotten it yet they're just getting it. brian: that one is how old? david: 12. brian: the reaction? david: he loves it. brian: boy or girl? david: boy. brian: what was his reaction? david: he loves it. he is not read all of it but he has read some of it. he's a very interesting little man, and i'm very pleased he likes it.
i have grandchildren who were in -- who are in their 30's, and i have one who is 10. they cover a lot of time. brian: six kids? david: five children. brian: how many of these children and 19 grandchildren and in-laws and all that and he -- have you found to be interested in history? david: i would say probably 75%. they had it pretty well drummed into them. brian: how did you do that over the years? david: talking, and taking them to historic sites. that's the best way to get them involved. and encouraging them to read good books. there is no reason in the world why history has to be dull. no excuse for a history teacher to be dull.
it is about people. it is about life. it is about cause and effect. it is about stories. says there isn, no trick to teaching history, tell stories. that's what it is. i think you have to bring the characters alive, and you can only do that by really knowing them. you do that by working with original letters and diaries. the book i am working on now about the northwest ordinance and the settlement of ohio is only possible because i have found this incredible collection of letters and diaries at the archive at mariana college in mariana, ohio. unbelievable. written by the people who had settled mariana, ohio. brian: how you find out it was there?
david: by working on manasseh cutler for the speech i gave at athens, ohio. as often happens, by talking to the archivist who runs the place and knows more about the subject than anybody, knows that these characters -- there was one who was a carpenter, a boat maker, and one who was a minister and a lawyer and another who was cutler's son. his name was efraim cutler. he eventually ended up in politics. there was a point after ohio when there was a big movement in the legislature
to scrap the no slavery rule. and let slaves be in ohio. it went to a vote in the legislature and the deciding vote was cast by efraim cutler. if that is not a great story -- he wrote wonderful letters. and there is a doctor who wrote terrific histories of the town and wrote medical essays and pieces about various characters who had figured importantly in the town story. one day i was there in the mariana, and the archivist brought over an old notebook and said you might find this interesting.
i opened it up and there were these exquisite watercolors of natural history phenomenon. the caterpillar and his whole life cycle where he turns into the butterfly all done in watercolors of such perfection it could be done in the metropolitan museum. he is a doctor practicing medicine with patience and all that in this frontier town. and you think, it is in many ways humbling to realize what so many have accomplished. in spite of adversities we don't have to deal with ever. brian: here you are at boston college. the title of it is, the love of learning. >> facts alone are ever enough.
facts rarely have any soul. in writing or trying to understand history, one may have all matter of data and miss the point. one can have all the facts and miss the truth. it could be like the old pianist teacher's lament to her students, i hear all the notes but i hear no music. brian: as we know in politics, we are always hearing that is the truth. you are saying they are not the same? david: they are not. we live in the information age. we get information in quantities that would have been unimaginable in other times on an infinite variety of subjects. all it can come instantly now electronically.
in many ways you don't have to carry any of this in your head. you can just look it up, so why learn it. information is important. information is valuable. it can be worth a lot of money. it can be decisive. in which direction one goes, in one's life or the country. but it is not learning. if information were learning, if you memorized the world almanac you would not be learning, you would be weird. no computer has yet had an idea. they only happen here in the human brain. the human imagination. information is not poetry, information is not music, information is not art or theater.
it does not deal with the soul of our human nature. i've always loved dixieland jazz . i love it. and about 9-10 years ago, we rented a house in florida and i was taking a walk one morning and i heard this incredible dixieland music coming out of a house with a lot of cars parked around it. it was about 8:00 or 9:00. i thought they were playing awfully loud. i wonder the neighbors don't complain. then i realized, that is not a recording, that is the real thing.
the next day i was walking by the same house and the kid who lived there was picking up his newspaper off his driveway. i walked back to the house, we sat in the car outside this house and listened to a dixieland concert for about two hours. he said, we do this every tuesday morning. he said, next week, come on in and listen inside. the band is comprised of retired professional musicians. some of them are not professionals but they are good enough to have been. you should hear them play. some of them come in on a walker or a cane and they come down to play and they are 45 or 55 again.
or 25 again. if i ever saw the fountain of youth at work, it lifts you out of time. that is the power of music, that is the power of art. it is not information. that is life. in july you will be 84. what is the impact of age on you? david: very little. brian: have things changed? david: sure it has. time is more important. material acquisitions of any kind do not interest me. at all. i have much less desire to travel a lot. i've been so many places i don't feel motivation to go again. i'm not against traveling but i do not have the bug in me. i want to spend the time i have doing the work i want to do. my joy is in work.
i think what one finds, you work, your family, your friends and needless to say your health are what matter. i do not have time to waste time. i get very impatient when i'm with some people who have long since retired and all they talk about is their golf game or their knee operation. that is not for me. i like learning. i like finding out about something that i do not know anything about. i was raised on curiosity. curiosity is what separates us from the cabbages.
it does. i also love to make something. i love to make a page or five pages or a chapter or a book. i love to make a painting. i love to make all kinds of things if i have the right materials to work with or have somebody who really knows how to do it. i like to finish the day knowing i have done something that if i was not around it would not have happened. i was pleased i spent much of my day doing it. brian: i wanted to ask you about this for several months. before i do i want to run some video of you in the year 2016 and i want you to tell me why you did this. >> president dwight d.
eisenhower who so admirably served his country, said there were four key qualities by which we should measure a leader. character, ability, responsibility and experience. donald trump fails to qualify on all four counts. it should be noted eisenhower , put character first. in the words of the ancient greeks, character is destiny. so much of what donald trump spouts is so far and vulgar and mean-spirited, he does not measure up. he is unwise, plainly unprepared , unqualified and he often seems , unhinged. how can we possibly put our future in the hands of such a man? brian: i've interviewed you lots and lots of hours. i have actually no idea what your politics are.
it surprised me when i saw this and i thought why did this historian do this? david: because i felt that he was at the least qualified candidate for the presidency in our history and he not only has had no appropriate background or training and has never done anything for his country on his own or by volunteering and that he is one of those people who uses fear and smear and swagger -- and slander, as his weapons for succeeding. and i really was worried and i still am about what the consequences are going to be.
brian: to julie this and organize the others historians? david: yes and no. ken burns and i did. we said we had to do something. a traditional place that historians take in the political contest or country has been to stay out of it. to maintain neutrality. it would appear to violate your ability to make fair judgments and not be misled by your own political opinions or emotions. i have done that often. i grew up in a very republican family. i was a great admirer of several republican politicians, past and present.
i voted for gerald ford. i quit my job in new york to work for john kennedy when he called on us to do something for our country. and i have registered as independent but i have cross of -- crossed the line many times and have been exposed to dear friends and members of my family who disagreed with the position that i took. that was fine. i didn't mind that. this time i thought it was an emergency. if we could somehow reach out to the people who were really on the fence at that point, it might make a difference. brian: i want to show some more video from the other historians. briefly so people can see the extent.
these are all democrats except one. you will see and i want you to tell us about it. >> there comes a time when i and you can no longer remain neutral. we must speak up and speak out. >> like many other historians i have been deeply disturbed by the trump campaign. history is full of demagogues who rise to the very heights of power. >> only i can solve these problems? nothing is more antithetical to america's founding. >> what is especially different about donald trump is that he is not a patriot. >> one of the things that donald trump is not is a populist. >> donald trump is attuned to the white backlash against a black man in power. >> he is the huckster, the shark.
>> i don't know much about trump's temperament, but he seems like a narcissist. no -- >> no one has dedicated his life so completely to self-aggrandizement without even an inkling of responsibility. >> i never saw all that. brian: i want to ask you about something. you may not like this. the last man on the screen was joseph ellis. and you talk about character and i'm not going to besmirch joseph ellis except to go back and remember the time in 2001, he won the pulitzer and the boston globe reported he had lied to his students about serving in vietnam and making the freedom march in mississippi. they suspended him for a year.
he got everything back. he is a historian and now he is involved in politics. we supposed to believe someone who would tell students those lies? you write about lies in your speeches. david: brian, joe ellis is a friend of mine. i can't answer your question. he is a friend and i will not speak negatively about him. as much as i could say is positive about him as a historian and as a friend. the story broke and came as a shock to me. a serious shock but i called him right away and said i just want you to know i am your friend and i will stand by you and i have. it has happened to some other people, plagiarism charges and
so forth. i guess the answer to that is historians are human. we all have our flaws and sometimes what we think will be kept private is not and i think that from a professional point of view, joe ellis, i've never sat in on one of his classes. i'm sure he is good as they get. brian: let me go beyond that, you write so much about character. what is character? david: it is having the courage of your convictions. it is having honesty. you tell the truth.
and, at the white house, and in the state dining room, there's a quotation from a letter john adams wrote to abigail. the first night he stayed at the white house. he was the first president to live in the white house and she had not arrived yet. he was there alone. the house was far from complete. he was living under construction. in a letter he wrote may only wise and honest men rule under this roof. what is so important about that line is he puts honesty first. , honesty is more important than brains and a number of other people have said it too.
isn't it interesting that our first president became famous for never telling a lie and to my knowledge, never said anything derogatory or nasty about a rival ever. i think that, this came over me with particular strength when i was writing my wright brothers book. i think how we are raised at home is most important. then we realize. yes, our education is vital and studying with brilliant people. having the advantage of access to books. and libraries. those fundamental values that you are raised with,
that you don't get too big for britches, that you don't cheat, that you are loyal to your friends as country. -- as you are to your country. that you work hard, that you are loyal to your friends and your country. you have purpose in life. if it is worthy purpose, you will have a good life. those wright brothers never had the advantages of material wealth. they never finished high school. let alone to college. they were raised to work hard, to have a purpose and to never belittle or smear a rival. other people who were in the aviation pioneering era would often take cracks at the wright brothers. the wright brothers never said
anything derogatory about those with whom they were in competition. you do not necessarily learn that in college. you might learn it in grade school from a really good teacher. it is what you get at home. and i think we should know more about that. brian: i want to stay with character for a moment. the president got a lot of criticism from a lot of different areas about his attitude towards women. one of the heroes of a lot of people is john f. kennedy and his relationship with women --not admirable, nobody knew about it. back then. david: i was in the kennedy administration in a very low ranking role. brian: what is the difference between a jfk and a donald trump when it comes to women? ?nd character
david: kennedy was a gentleman. brian: he had a 19-year-old who was in the white house -- david: he did not smear her. he did not talk about the women he was involved in. in a derogatory or a masculine superiority fashion. -- as the people thought it was camelot. david: the exposure of the full story of a president is a recent development in our lifetime. brian: is that good or bad? david: in some ways it is not good. i think the decline of privacy and our way of life is not just in the white house. it is everywhere now. and it is getting worse because of electronic snooping and spying.
brian: in your lifetime, you've been involved with jefferson and monticello, the whole sally hemmings relationship, they -- was not exposed. they fought to not expose it. what impact has that had on jefferson's character? david: it has had impact and it always will. the fact that he paid reporters to smear john adams. he was funding that. not the rules of the game. jefferson destroyed every letter he ever wrote to his wife and she wrote to him. what does that tell us? i don't know. washington did the same thing.
it is a shame because we cannot really know those men as i wish we could. because of that. you take the adam's papers, there are thousands of letters between john and abigail adams. they are marvelous revealing letters. if only we could have some from jefferson and washington. they are always in debt. john adams was not in debt. he never had any money. it was a different ethic. i think we need to know more about the puritans. the puritans were not what most people imagine it i'm finding that out -- i'm finding that out with some of the characters i'm working on. the idea that they all dressed in black and never smiled and did not like having a good time, not true. there values were admirable.
in particularly education and legal fairness. snobbery was bad form. snobbery was bad form. you do not act that way and you are not vulgar. my great-grandmother was german and she's to talk about the vulgar rich. people who have so much money they were making fools of themselves. brian: in this book "the american spirit," you have 15 speeches. what is the best speeches ever given? david: i cannot answer that. it is a little bit like asking which is my favorite grandchild. brian: which did you work the
hardest on? david: i worked very hard on the speech i gave at dartmouth about the presidency, and i worked hard on the speech i gave in ohio at the university there. i worked hard on the speech i gave at lafayette college about the connection between france and the united states. i think that is an aspect of our story that is not as understood as it should be. there are 60,000 americans buried in france. more of our people buried there than any other country in the world except our own. you think about the louisiana purchase and the service, the part they played in the revolution, i think there's a good case we would not have won the revolution had it not been for the french, both financially and military help. brian: we are running out of time.
i want to know when was the first time someone said they wanted to pay you to make a speech? and what was your reaction? david: i am sure i loved it. i had a lot of tuitions to pay and survival for many years as an independent writer was no easy matter. but i also look back on it as a very happy time in our lives. i have a wonderful wife and when i said i'm thinking about stopping my job as an editor in new york and see if i can make it on my own as a writer, she said great. go for it. do it. brian: you don't remember the first speech you are paid? david: no, i don't. ♪ david: it was probably at a college or university.
i wish i had -- it is a very good question. if rosalie were here, she would know. brian: we are out of time. the book "the american spirit: who we are and what we stand for." 15 speeches from 1989-2016. by our guest, david mccullough. i thank you very much. david: thank you. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] >> for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q&a.org. programs are also available at c-span podcast. ♪