Drew Faust

  • Aired:  09/17/12
  •  | Views: 8,527

Harvard University President Drew Faust describes the sociopolitical impacts of theCivil War, including the triumph of the human spirit. (5:45)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY, MY GUEST TONIGHT WROTE A BOOK THAT IS NOW A PBS DOCUMENTARY.

I TiVOED IT.

PLEASE DON'T TELL ME WHO WINS.

PLEASE WELCOME DREW GILPIN FAUST.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) HEY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT, YOU'RE THE PRESIDENT OF HARVARD, RIGHT.

>> MI.

>> Stephen: ARE YOU, YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE... YOU'RE ONE OF THOSE SMART PEOPLE WHO RICK SANTORUM SAYS THAT THE

GOP'S NEVER GOING TO ATTRACT.

WHY ARE YOU SO PREJUDICED AGAINST PEOPLE WHO DO NOT VALUE EDUCATION.

>> WE HAVE LOTS OF PEOPLE CONNECTED WITH HARVARD WHO ARE CONSERVATIVE, WHO'VE BEEN TO HARVARD, GROVER

NORQUIST WENT TO HARVARD.

>> Stephen: DO THEY STILL GO THERE.

SO YOU KICKED HIM OUT.

>> THEY SUCCEEDED THERE.

THEY DID VERY WELL.

THEY WENT ON TO DO GOOD THINGS IN LIFE.

SO WE SEE HARVARD AS A PLACE FOR EDUCATION FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE CONSERVATIVE; PEOPLE WHO ARE LIBERAL; AND EVERYBODY

IN BETWEEN.

>> Stephen: IS IF FOR DUMB PEOPLE?

IS IT FOR DUMB PEOPLE.

>> IT'S NEVER DUMB TO GET AN EDUCATION.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: SO YOU ARE PREJUDICED AGAINST DUMB PEOPLE, GOOD TO KNOW.

OKAY.

NOW YOUNG LADY, YOU HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK CALLED "THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING: DEATH AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR"

AND IT'S THE SUBJECT OF INSPIRATION FOR A NEW DOCUMENTARY, DEATH AND THE CIVIL WAR DIRECTED BY RIC BURNS.

NOW I KNOW THERE WAS DEATH IN THE CIVIL WAR, OKAY.

BUT THERE WAS CERTAINLY DEATH BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR.

WHAT IS SPECIAL, WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT DEATH AND THE CIVIL WAR?

>> THE CIVIL WAR BRINGS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE A LEVEL OF DEATH THAT IS UNPRECEDENTED, THAT IS

UNLIKE ANYTHING THEY ANTICIPATED OR HAD EXPERIENCED BEFORE.

AND IT DEPEND-- DEMANDS FROM THEM A WHOLE NEW SET OF ATTITUDES, BEHAVIORS, ASSUMPTIONS.

SO MANY PEOPLE DIED IN THE CIVIL WAR.

>> Stephen: HOW MANY PEOPLE.

>> WE DON'T KNOW EXACTLY BECAUSE THE RECORD-KEEPING WAS SO TERRIBLE BUT APPROXIMATELY 750,000 PEOPLE.

AND IN TODAY'S TERMS, PROPORTIONALLY THAT WOULD MEAN 7 MILLION AMERICANS.

IMAGINE IF 7 MILLION AMERICANS MR. KILLED AS A RESULT OF A WAR TODAY.

IMAGINE HOW IT WOULD CHANGE OUR SOCIETY, CHANGE OUR ATTITUDES, CHANGE HOW WE DEALT WITH DEATH, HOW WE

EVEN HANDLED THE BODIES.

>> Stephen: WELL WA, WAS THE DICHBS FOR THEM WA, WAS THE TRANSITION FROM HOW WE DEALT WITH DEATH BEFORE TO HOW WE

DEALT WITH DEATH WHEN IT CAME IN SUCH A MASSIVE SCALE, THE WAY THE BLACK PLAGUE CHANGED EUROPE AFTER THE

BLACK PLAGUE?

>> WELL, ONE OF THE ASPECTS WAS IT THAT IN THE WAR SO MANY PEOPLE DIED AWAY FROM HOME.

SOLDIERS WERE THOUSANDS OF MILES FROM HOME.

THEY DIED ON BATTLEFIELDS WITHOUT ANY RECORD OF THEIR DEATH.

THERE WERE NO DOG TAGS SO OFTEN THE SOLDIERS DIED WITHOUT AN IDENTITY.

ABOUT HALF OF THOSE WHO DIED IN THE CIVIL WAR WERE NEVER IDENTIFIED.

>> Stephen: YOU SAY THAT THE AMOUNT OF DEATH IN THE CIVIL WAR ACTUALLY CHANGED OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR GOVERNMENT.

HOW SO?

>> IT DID BECAUSE WHEN THE WAR BEGAN AND SOLDIERS ENTERED THE ARMY THERE WAS NO SENSE OF AN OBLIGATION ON

THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT, EITHER NORTHERN OR SOUTHERN TO REPORT ABOUT THE FATE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS OR TO TAKE

CARE OF THEIR REMAINS.

AND TODAY THAT WOULD SEEM TO US UNTHINKABLE.

AND IN THE COURSE OF THE WAR IT BEGAN TO SEEM UNTHINKABLE TO AMERICANS AS WELL.

NORTH AND SOUTH.

AND SO BY THE END OF THE WAR THERE HAD EMERGED THE BELIEF THAT A GOVERNMENT OWED TO ITS PEOPLE A RESPONSIBILITY

TO ACCOUNT FOR THOSE WHO HAD SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES ON ITS BEHALF.

SO THE NATIONAL CEMETERY SYSTEM ORIGINATES DURING THE CIVIL WAR.

>> Stephen: I DON'T... I THINK THIS IS A FANTASTIC DOCUMENTARY.

THE FILM SOUNDS LIKE A FASCINATING BOOK BUT YOU ARE BEGINNING TO MAKE THE CIVIL WAR SOUND LIKE A DOWNER.

(LAUGHTER)

>> I DID NOT FIND THE WORK I DID ON THIS BOOK, AND I DON'T THINK THOSE WHO WATCH RIC BURN'S BEAUTIFUL

DOCUMENTARY THAT IS BASED ON IT, I DON'T THINK THEY WILL FIND IT A DOWNER.

BECAUSE WHAT IT REALLY REPRESENTS IS THE TRIUMPH OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT IN FACE OF SUFFERING AND IN FACE OF ALL

THESE EXTRAORDINARILY DIFFICULT CHALLENGES.

WE FIND INDIVIDUALS LIKE SAY CLARA BARTON WHO BRINGS MEDICINES AND WAYS TO TREAT THE WOUNDED TO THE

BATTLEFIELD IN ANTIDUM AND RISES ABOVE ANYTHING SHE EVER EXPECTED TO DO IN LIFE TO REACH OUT AND HELP THOSE

MEN WHO WERE SUFFERING.

AND HELP THEM TO HAVE MEDICAL CARE AND TAKE DOWN THEIR NAMES AND WRITE TO THEIR FAMILIES.

>> Stephen: IN SOME WAYS IF THE GOVERNMENT, YOU KNOW, FELT AN OBLIGATION, ISN'T THIS BEGINNING OF OUR BIG

GOVERNMENT THE GOVERNMENT FELT LIKE THEY HAD A ROLE IN OUR LIVES THAT ORDINARILY WOULD BE FILLED BY OUR FAMILY?

>> I THINK THIS IS AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION THAT TAKES PLACE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE CIVIL WAR.

WHAT DO CITIZENS OWE TO THE STATE.

WHAT DO THE STATES OWE TO CITIZENS.

WHAT DO CITIZENS OWE TO ONE ANOTHER AS BASIC FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN DECENCY AND KINDNESS.

AND THOSE QUESTIONS ARE STILL BEING ADDRESSED TODAY.

WE'RE STILL HAVING THAT CONVERSATION.

>> WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: THE BOOK IS CALLED THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING, DREW GILPIN FAUST, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

JOINING ME.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

(C

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