C-SPAN Videos

All Library locations will be closed on Sunday, April 20, in observance of the Easter holiday.

C-SPAN, the cable television network, has visited the Library to record events for Book TV and other series. Click the icon to go to the C-SPAN Video Library to watch these events (requires Adobe Flash Player).

  • In 1886 four anarchists were hanged for bombing a Chicago labor rally and for 125 years their convictions have been seen as a miscarriage of justice. Now historian Timothy Messer-Kruse argues that the prosecution was solid, but the defense chose grandstanding over substance.
    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    On May 4, 1886, a peaceful labor rally in Haymarket Square in Chicago erupted in violence. Four anarchists were convicted and hanged for their purported role in a bombing that resulted in the death of seven police officers and at least four civilians.

    For much of a century the executions of the anarchists were widely viewed as a miscarraige of justice. But in a discussion of his book The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age, Timothy Messer-Kruse argues that the prosecution was solid. It was the anarchists’ lawyers who chose to ignore a sound defense and instead use the trial for political grandstanding.

  • Television newsman Jim Lehrer and author Lee Banville join Library director Crosby Kemper III for a public conversation that provides insight into the presidential debate moments that shaped history.
    Monday, April 22, 2013

    Television newsman Jim Lehrer has presided over 12 presidential and vice-presidential debates and written about them in his 2011 memoir Tension City. Now, MacNeil/Lehrer Production has published Debating Our Destiny, a multimedia-enhanced ebook by University of Montana journalism professor Lee Banville on the history of presidential debates.

  • Military historian Gregory S. Hospodor examines the year-long effort by a Union army – under the command of Ulysses S. Grant – to take Vicksburg, the Mississippi River stronghold that Jefferson Davis called “the nail head that holds the South’s two halves together.”
    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    Military historian Gregory S. Hospodor examines the year-long effort by a Union army -- under the command of Ulysses S. Grant -- to take Vicksburg, the Mississippi River stronghold that Jefferson Davis called “the nail head that holds the South’s two halves together.”

  • Author William Hogeland explains how debt, speculation, foreclosures, protests, and crackdowns made us a nation.
    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Arguments over taxation and “constitutional conservatism” are nothing new, William Hogeland points out. His new book brings to life the violent conflicts over economics, class, and finance that played directly into the hardball politics of forming the nation and ratifying the Constitution — conflicts that still affect our politics, legislation, and national debate.

  • Scholar Henry Adams discusses the life of his  great-great-great-great-great grandmother, who witnessed the American Revolution and left behind insightful  and sometimes ascerbic impressions of the Founding Fathers.
    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Abigail Adams, the wife of one president and the mother of a second, was significant not only for her accomplishments as a diarist and letter writer but for the influence she had on successive generations of the Adams family. Scholar Henry Adams, the great-great-great-great-great grandson of Abigail and John Adams, looks at his forbear’s life and writing, especially her often caustic impressions of the Founding Fathers.

  • Author Henry Wiencek examines our first president’s long struggle with the issue of slavery, an experience that moved him to free all his slaves upon his death.
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    George Washington was a slave owner, a fact which he described as his “only unavoidable subject of regret.” So much did he regret it that in his will Washington made the startling decision to free his slaves. Author Henry Wiencek, who in 2012 spoke at the Library about Thomas Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery, now examines the relationship between the most iconic of our Founding Fathers and the “peculiar institution.”

  • Walter Stahr examines the
    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    In 1860 William Henry Seward was poised to become the Republican nominee for president, only to lose to Abraham Lincoln.

    Now, on Lincoln’s birthday, historian Walter Stahr describes how the two put aside their rivalry, with Seward becoming Lincoln’s Secretary of State and closest adviser during the Civil War. He was so important that John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators targeted Seward along with the President.

    A former lawyer, Stahr is also the author of John Jay: Founding Father.

  • Michael Scheibach examines how Americans – especially impressionable young people - coped with the threat of nuclear annihilation during the height of the Cold War.
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    A specialist in the Atomic Age, Michael Scheibach examines how Americans in the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s dealt with the threat of nuclear annihilation with an emphasis on the impact of Civil Defense drills, merchandising campaigns using atomic imagery, and popular entertainments like comic books and science fiction movies.

  • Noted economist Mark Skousen examines this Founding Father’s business sense, summed up in Franklin’s perennial classic The Way to Wealth, often considered America’s first “rags to riches” account.
    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, author, politician, postmaster, and civic activist.

    But noted economist and Franklin biographer Mark Skousen reminds us that Franklin was also a businessman and an entrepreneur whose autobiography is often considered to be the first “rags to riches” account in American history.

  • Historian Henry Wiencek examines how Thomas Jefferson, for all his accomplishments and advanced thinking, could not get beyond his own limited perspective in matters of race.
    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    For all his accomplishments and advanced thinking, Thomas Jefferson could not get beyond his own limited perspective in matters of race. Drawing from new archaeological work and previously overlooked evidence, historian Henry Wiencek examines the factors that led Jefferson, once an emancipationist, to keep some of his own children as slaves.