Trump’s Civil War Statement

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President Trump made comments about the cause of the Civil War that have been criticized for being highly inaccurate. Jonathan Barth, an assistant professor of history at Arizona State University’s School for Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, will discuss the president’s statements and the causes of the Civil War.

TED SIMONS: COMING UP NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON." A HISTORIAN LOOKS AT COMMENTS ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR. AND AN EXECUTIVE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. THOSE STORIES NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON " IM TED SIMONS. THE STATE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE TODAY APPROVED A PLAN THAT ALLOWS ARIZONA'S STATE UNIVERSITIES A BILLION DOLLARS FOR BUILDINGS AND BUILDING MAINTENANCE THE BILL WAS ALONG PARTY LINES WITH REPUBLICANS FOR THE MEASURE AND DEMOCRATS AGAINST. DEMOCRATIC SENATOR CATHERINE MIRANDA THAT SHE COULD NOT VOTE FOR THE PLAN WHILE THE STATE WHILE THE STATE'S K-12 SYSTEM IS UNDERFUNDED. THE MEASURE NOW MOVES ON TO THE FULL SENATE. PRESIDENT TRUMP RECENTLY MADE COMMENTS REGARDING ANDREW JACKSON AND THE CIVIL WARS WITH COMMENTS BEING WIDELY CRITICIZED AT BEST WIDELY INACCURATE. JOINING US NOW IS ASU JOHNATHAN BARTH, ASU, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, PHYLOSOPHICAL AND RELIGIOUS STORIES. WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON, GOOD TO HAVE YOU…

TED SIMONS: LET'S START WITH HIS MOST BASIC PREMISE, HE JUST COULDN'T FIGURE OUT WHY THE CIVIL WAR COULDN'T HAVE BEEN WORKED OUT…

JONATHAN BARTH: WE TYPICALLY DO NOT INDULGE IN SPECULATIVE HISTORY. YOU CAN'T PROVE IT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. NEVERTHELESS, SPECULATIVE HISTORY CAN BE INTERESTING, AND THE PUBLIC LIKES IT. IT'S NOT INAPPROPRIATE TO COMMENT ON SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN A NONACADEMIC SETTING. PRESIDENT TRUMP, OBVIOUSLY NOT A HISTORIAN, RIGHT? HE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE, RIGHT? TO BE FAIR, HE WILL OFTEN STATE THINGS IN A MORE BLUNTLY AND -- SIMPLISTICALLY THAN A HISTORIAN WOULD. WHO AM I TO JUDGE THAT, RIGHT? HE HAS HIS STYLE. NEVERTHELESS, I HAVE TO SAY, HIS COMMENTS SPECIFICALLY ABOUT JACKSON AND SUCH, I DON'T THINK WE CAN NECESSARILY SAY IT'S ALL TOGETHER IMPLAUSIBLE OR INACCURATE.

TED SIMONS: HE SAID, THIS IS THE QUOTE, THAT JACKSON WAS ANGRY WHEN HE SAW WHAT WAS HAPPENING WITH REGARD TO THE CIVIL WAR. JACKSON WAS DEAD FOR 60 YEARS BEFORE THE WAR STARTED.

JONATHAN BARTH: WHETHER OR NOT HE KNEW THAT -- HE HAD A TWEET LATER SAYING JACKSON WAS DEAD AT THAT POINT. THE SPIRIT OF WHAT HE MEANT, WHETHER HE WAS INACCURATE OR NOT, THE UNITED STATES SUFFERED FROM A CHAIN OF WEAK PRESIDENT IN THE 1850S. MOST HISTORIANS RECOGNIZE THE LAST STRONG PRESIDENT, JAMES K. POKE. AFTER THAT YOU HAD WEAK PRESIDENTS, ZACHARY TAYLOR, MILLARD FIL MORE, FRANKLIN PIERCE AND JAMES BUCHANAN. HE'S RECOGNIZED AS THE WEAKEST PRESIDENT IN THE UNITED STATES HISTORY. LINCOLN WAS ELECTED IN NOVEMBER 1860. BACK THEN YOU WERE NOT INAUGURATED UNTIL MARCH. THERE WAS A LAME DUCK PERIOD AND SOUTH CAROLINA SECEDED IN 1860 AND BUCHANAN SAT BY, LET IT HAPPEN. I THINK THE SPIRIT OF WHAT TRUMP WAS SAYING, WE CAN NITPICK, BUT THE SPIRIT WAS, THE 1850S, THE U.S. WAS LACKING STRONG LEADERSHIP. I CAN'T DISAGREE WITH THAT.

TED SIMONS: HE SAID HAD ANDREW JACKSON BEEN AROUND THERE WOULD BE NO CIVIL WAR. ANDREW JACKSON WAS A SLAVE OWNER. DO YOU THINK THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO CIVIL WAR.

JONATHAN BARTH: IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY. HE WAS A SLAVE OWNER. THE LEADERSHIP QUESTION, TRUMP IS A STRONG UNIONIST AND STAUNCH OPPONENT OF DISUNION. THERE WAS AN INCIDENT IN 1832, 1833 JOHN C. CALHOUN, SOMETIMES THE VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENT SOMETIMES CLASHED. CALHOUN LED A MOVEMENT TO NULLIFY THE TARIFF. JACKSON THREATENED TO SEND 50,000 U.S. TROOPS TO SOUTH CAROLINA AND SENT A NAVAL FORCE SAYING IF YOU SECEDE, I'LL TAKE YOU DOWN. YEAH, JACKSON WAS A SLAVE OWNER. A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE OPPOSITION PARTY WERE SLAVE OWNERS, LIKE HENRY CLAY. I THINK THE POINT IS STRONG LEADERSHIP AND STRONG SENSE OF WANTING TO PRESERVE THE UNION. WHETHER OR NOT IT'S CORRECT, IT'S ALL HYPOTHETICAL, SPECULATIVE, NOT CORRECT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

TED SIMONS: IT SOUNDS AS THOUGH HE WAS SAYING THAT THE ISSUE OF CIVIL WAR, SLAVERY COULD HAVE BEEN NEGOTIATED, AT THE TIME, THE PROBLEM WASN'T SO MUCH SLAVERY. IT WAS EXPANDING SLAVERY. COULD YOU NEGOTIATE AND SAY SLAVERY IS OKAY, DON'T EXPAND IT. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SAYING THINGS. I'M TRYING TO GET A HISTORIAN TO SAY WHAT?

JONATHAN BARTH: WE LIKE TO EMPHASIZE THAT NOTHING IS INEVITABLE. NO EVENT IN HISTORY IS INEVITABLE. THERE ARE VARIABLES THAT COME INTO PLAY THAT CHANGE THINGS. SLAVERY WAS INHUMANE SLAVERY IS BASICALLY YOU SAYING YOU DON'T OWN YOUR BODY, SO IT HAD TO GO, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. THE QUESTION IS, HOW DOES IT GO? IT WAS A CIVIL WAR THAT CAUSED THE DEATH OF ABOUT 800,000 PEOPLE. AFRICAN-AMERICANS MADE UP 10% OF THE UNION ARMY. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO AVOID THAT. WAS THE COST WORTH IT?

WE GOT RID OF SLAVERY. WE REPLACED IT WITH SHARECROPPING. BLACKS IN THE SOUTH DIDN'T FULLY LIBERATE THEMSELVES AFTER THE WAR. IT WAS GOOD THAT SLAVERY WAS DONE AWAY WITH. WERE THERE OTHER WAYS TO DO IT? HARD TO SAY ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL TO HAVE STRONG LEADERS.

TED SIMONS: WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PRESIDENT IS TRYING TO SAY HERE?

JONATHAN BARTH: I THINK HE'S TALKING ABOUT LEADERSHIP. I THINK THAT'S THE CRUX OF WHAT HE'S SAYING. YOU HAVE TO HAVE STRONG LEADERSHIP. ANDREW JACKSON WAS NOT A SMALL GOVERNMENT GUY. HE EXORCIZED THE VETO MORE THAN ANY PRESIDENT BEFORE HIM. TALK ABOUT STRENGTHENING THE BRANCH, TRUMP LIKES TO STYLE HIMSELF AFTER JACKSON, A POPULIST. JACKSON IS A MODEL, IN FAVOR OF A STRONG PRESIDENCY AND STRONG UNION. I THINK THAT'S WHAT TRUMP IS GETTING AT. WE CAN NITPICK AT THINGS, BUT THE MESSAGE I THINK TRUMP IS SAYING, THE UNITED STATES BENEFITS FROM STRONG LEADERSHIP. WHETHER OR NOT TRUMP PROVIDES THAT IS ANOTHER QUESTION.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU THINK HE MAKES GOOD POINTS?

JONATHAN BARTH: YOU WANT ME TO PUT MY ACADEMIC HAT ON?

TED SIMONS: I WANT YOU TO ANSWER THE QUESTION.

JONATHAN BARTH: HE MAKES A GOOD POINT ABOUT NEEDING STRONG LEADERSHIP IN THE 1850S. LINCOLN PROVIDED THAT BUT EIGHT STATES HAD ALREADY SECEDED. IF WE COULD HAVE AVOIDED THAT AND ENDED SLAVERY IN A DIFFERENT WAY, THAT BLOODSHED OF 800,000 PEOPLE BEING KILLED, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN PREFERABLE. MAYBE IT HAD TO BE DONE. WE COULD TALK ABOUT THAT ALL DAY. THE SPIRIT OF WHAT HE'S SAYING IS LEADERSHIP.

TED SIMONS: VERY GOOD. I GUESS WE LEARNED MORE ABOUT THE NULLIFICATION CRISIS OF THE 1830S THAN BEFORE. COMING UP, WE HEAR FROM A PHOENIX WHISTLE BLOWER WHOSE WHITING WAS HEARD ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE.

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