C-SPAN Videos

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).

  • Seton Hall’s Williamjames Hull Hoffer examines the repercussions of the controversial 1896 Supreme Court decision that legitimized the segregation of Jim Crow America and ushered in a half-century of “separate but equal.”
    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Homer Plessy—a man of seven-eighths Caucasian descent and one-eighth African descent who was nevertheless considered black under Louisiana law—boarded a train car reserved for whites and was promptly arrested. Hearing the appeal of his conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896 upheld the Louisiana statute, thus ushering in a half-century of legally sanctioned segregation under the "separate but equal" doctrine.

    Williamjames Hull Hoffer examines that controversial decision and its repercussions in a discussion of his book about the landmark case. Hoffer is associate professor of history at Seton Hall University.

  • Rutgers University Distinguished Professor of Law Earl M. Maltz examines the controversial 1856 Supreme Court decision that found blacks were not citizens of the United States.
    Wednesday, June 26, 2013

    The slave Dred Scott claimed that his residence in a free state transformed him into a free man. When the Court decided otherwise, the ruling sent shock waves through the nation and helped lead to the Civil War.

    Earl M. Maltz discusses his book Dred Scott and the Politics of Slavery and argues that the case revealed a political climate that had grown so threatening to the South that overturning the Missouri Compromise was considered essential.

  • Historian Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy looks at the British leaders who lost the American colonies and finds not incompetence but able and even brilliant men undone by political complexities at home and the fervency of their American opponents.
    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    The loss of America was an unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders were to blame.

    But Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy argues in his book The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire that British troops were led ably and even brilliantly. The effort was undone by political complexities at home and the fervency of their American opponents.

  • 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.