Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History #22


Episode 21: Reconstruction Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course
U.S. History and huzzah! The Civil War is over!
The slaves are free! Huzzah! That one hit me in the head? It’s very dangerous, Crash
Course. So when you say, “Don’t aim at a person,”
that includes myself? The roller coaster only goes up from here,
my friends. Huzzah! Mr. Green, Mr. Green, what about the epic
failure of Reconstruction? Oh, right. Stupid Reconstruction always ruining
everything intro
So after the Civil War ended, the United States had to reintegrate both a formerly slave population
and a formerly rebellious population back into the country, which is a challenge that
we might’ve met, except Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and we were left with Andrew
“I am the Third Worst President Ever” Johnson.
I’m sorry, Abe, but you don’t get to be in the show anymore.
So, Lincoln’s whole post-war idea was to facilitate reunion and reconciliation, and
Andrew Johnson’s guiding Reconstruction principle was that the South never had a right
to secede in the first place. Also, because he was himself a Southerner,
he resented all the elites in the South who had snubbed him, AND he was also a racist
who didn’t think that blacks should have any role in Reconstruction. TRIFECTA!
So between 1865 and 1867, the so-called period of Presidential Reconstruction, Johnson appointed
provisional governors and ordered them to call state conventions to establish new all-white
governments. And in their 100% whiteness and oppression
of former slaves, those new governments looked suspiciously like the old confederate governments
they had replaced. And what was changing for the former slaves?
Well, in some ways, a lot. Like, Fiske and Howard universities were established, as well
as many primary and secondary schools, thanks in part to The Freedman’s Bureau, which
only lasted until 1870, but had the power to divide up confiscated and abandoned confederate
land for former slaves. And this was very important because to most
slaves, land ownership was the key to freedom, and many felt like they’d been promised
land by the Union Army. Like, General Sherman’s Field Order 15, promised to distribute land
in 40 acre plots to former slaves. But that didn’t happen, either through the
Freedman’s Bureau or anywhere else. Instead, President Johnson ordered all land returned
to its former owners. So the South remained largely agricultural with the same people
owning the same land, and in the end, we ended up with sharecropping. Let’s go to the Thought
Bubble. The system of sharecropping replaced slavery
in many places throughout the South. Landowners would provide housing to the sharecroppers–no,
Thought Bubble, not quite that nice. There ya go–also tools and seed, and then the sharecroppers
received, get this, a share of their crop–usually between a third and a half, with the price
for that harvest often set by the landowner. Freed blacks got to control their work, and
plantation owners got a steady workforce that couldn’t easily leave, because they had
little opportunity to save money and make the big capital investments in, like, land
or tools. By the late 1860s, poor white farmers were sharecropping as well–in fact, by the
Great Depression, most sharecroppers were white. And while sharecropping certainly wasn’t
slavery, it did result in a quasi-serfdom that tied workers to land they didn’t own–more
or less the opposite of Jefferson’s ideal of the small, independent farmer.
So, the Republicans in Congress weren’t happy that this reconstructed south looked
so much like the pre-Civil War south, so they took the lead in reconstruction after 1867.
Radical Republicans felt the war had been fought for equal rights and wanted to see
the powers of the national government expanded. Few were as radical as Thaddeus “Tommy Lee
Jones” Stephens who wanted to take away land from the Southern planters and give it
to the former slaves, but rank-and-file Republicans were radical enough to pass the Civil Rights
Bill, which defined persons born in the United States as citizens and established nationwide
equality before the law regardless of race. Andrew Johnson immediately vetoed the law,
claiming that trying to protect the rights of African Americans amounted to discrimination
against white people, which so infuriated Republicans that Congress did something it
had never done before in all of American history. They overrode the Presidential veto with a
2/3rds majority and the Civil Rights Act became law.
So then Congress really had its dander up and decided to amend the Constitution with
the 14th amendment, which defines citizenship, guarantees equal protection, and extends the
rights in the Bill of Rights to all the states (sort of). The amendment had almost no Democratic
support, but it also didn’t need any, because there were almost no Democrats in Congress
on account of how Congress had refused to seat the representatives from the “new”
all-white governments that Johnson supported. And that’s how we got the 14th amendment,
arguably the most important in the whole Constitution. Thanks, Thought Bubble. Oh, straight to the
mystery document today? Alright. The rules here are simple.
I guess the author of the Mystery Document and try not to get shocked. Alright let’s
see what we’ve got today. Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the police jury
of the parish of St. Landry, That no negro shall be allowed to pass within the limits
of said parish without special permit in writing from his employer. Sec. 4. . . . Every negro is required to be
in the regular service of some white person, or former owner, who shall be held responsible
for the conduct of said negro.. Sec. 6. . . . No negro shall be permitted
to preach, exhort, or otherwise declaim to congregations of colored people, without a
special permission in writing from the president of the police jury. . . .
Gee, Stan, I wonder if the President of the Police Jury was white. I actually know this
one. It is a Black Code, which was basically legal codes where they just replaced the word
“slave” with the word “negro.” And this code shows just how unwilling white
governments were to ensure the rights of new, free citizens.
I would celebrate not getting shocked, but now I am depressed.
So, okay, in 1867, again over Johnson’s veto, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act,
which divided the south into 5 military districts and required each state to create a new government,
one that included participation of black men. Those new governments had to ratify the 14th
amendment if they wanted to get back into the union. Radical Reconstruction had begun.
So, in 1868, Andrew Johnson was about as electable in the U.S. as Jefferson Davis, and sure enough
he didn’t win. Instead, the 1868 election was won by Republican and former Union general
Ulysses S. Grant. But Grant’s margin of victory was small
enough that Republicans were like, “Man, we would sure win more elections if black
people could vote.” Which is something you hear Republicans say all the time these days.
So Congressional Republicans pushed the 15th Amendment, which prohibited states from denying
men the right to vote based on race, but not based on gender or literacy or whether your
grandfather could vote. So states ended up with a lot of leeway when
it came to denying the franchise to African Americans, which of course they did.
So here we have the federal government dictating who can vote, and who is and isn’t a citizen
of a state, and establishing equality under the law–even local laws. And this is a really
big deal in American history, because the national government became, rather than a
threat to individual liberty, “the custodian of freedom,” as Radical Republican Charles
Sumner put it. So but with this legal protection, former
slaves began to exercise their rights. They participated in the political process by direct
action, such as staging sit-ins to integrate street-cars, by voting in elections, and by
holding office. Most African Americans were Republicans at
the time, and because they could vote and were a large part of the population, the Republican
party came to dominate politics in the South, just like today, except totally different.
Now, Southern mythology about the age of radical Reconstruction is exemplified by Gone with
the Wind, which of course tells the story of northern Republican dominance and corruption
by southern Republicans. Fortune seeking northern carpetbaggers, seen
here, as well as southern turncoat scalawags dominated politics and all of the African
American elected leaders were either corrupt or puppets or both.
Yeah, well, like the rest of Gone with the Wind, that’s a bit of an oversimplification.
There were about 2,000 African Americans who held office during Reconstruction, and the
vast majority of them were not corrupt. Consider for example the not-corrupt and amazingly-named
Pinckney B.S. Pinchback, who from 1872 to 1873 served very briefly in Louisiana as America’s
first black governor. And went on to be a senator and a member of the House of Representatives.
By the way, America’s second African American governor, Douglas Wilder of Virginia was elected
in 1989. Having African American officeholders was
a huge step forward in term of ensuring the rights of African Americans because it meant
that there would be black juries and less discrimination in state and local governments
when it came to providing basic services. But in the end, Republican governments failed
in the South. There were important achievements, especially a school system that, while segregated,
did attempt to educate both black and white children.
And even more importantly, they created a functioning government where both white and
African American citizens could participate. According to one white South Carolina lawyer,
“We have gone through one of the most remarkable changes in our relations to each other that
has been known, perhaps, in the history of the world.”
That’s a little hyperbolic, but we are America after all.
(libertage) It’s true that corruption was widespread,
but it was in the North, too. I mean, we’re talking about governments.
And that’s not why Reconstruction really ended: It ended because 1. things like schools
and road repair cost money, which meant taxes, which made Republican governments very unpopular
because Americans hate taxes, and 2. White southerners could not accept
African Americans exercising basic civil rights, holding office or voting.
And for many, the best way to return things to the way they were before reconstruction
was through violence. Especially after 1867, much of the violence
directed toward African Americans in the South was politically motivated. The Ku Klux Klan
was founded in 1866 and it quickly became a terrorist organization, targeting Republicans,
both black and white, beating and murdering men and women in order to intimidate them
and keep them from voting. The worst act of violence was probably the
massacre at Colfax, Louisiana where hundreds of former slaves were murdered.
And between intimidation and emerging discriminatory voting laws, fewer black men voted, which
allowed white Democrats to take control of state governments in the south, and returned
white Democratic congressional delegations to Washington.
These white southern politicians called themselves “Redeemers” because they claimed to have
redeemed the south from northern republican corruption and black rule.
Now, it’s likely that the South would have fallen back into Democratic hands eventually,
but the process was aided by Northern Republicans losing interest in Reconstruction.
In 1873, the U.S. fell into yet another not-quite-Great economic depression and northerners lost the
stomach to fight for the rights of black people in the south, which in addition to being hard
was expensive. So by 1876 the supporters of reconstruction
were in full retreat and the Democrats were resurgent, especially in the south. And this
set up one of the most contentious elections in American history.
The Democrats nominated New York Governor (and NYU Law School graduate) Samuel Tilden.
The Republicans chose Ohio governor (and Kenyon College alumnus) Rutherford B. Hayes.
One man who’d gone to Crash Course writer Raoul Meyer’s law school. And another who’d
gone to my college, Kenyon. Now, if the election had been based on facial
hair, as elections should be, there would’ve been no controversy, but sadly we have an
electoral college here in the United States, and in 1876 there were disputed electoral
votes in South Carolina, Louisiana, and, of course, Florida.
Now you might remember that in these situations, there is a constitutional provision that says
Congress should decide the winner, but Congress, shockingly, proved unable to accomplish something.
So they appointed a 15 man Electoral Commission–a Super-Committee, if you will. And there were
8 Republicans on that committee and 7 Democrats, so you will never guess who won. Kenyon College’s
own Rutherford B. Hayes. Go Lords and Ladies! And yes, that is our
mascot. Shut up. Anyway in order to get the Presidency and
win the support of the supercommittee, Hayes’ people agreed to cede control of the South
to the Democrats and to stop meddling in Southern affairs and also to build a transcontinental
railroad through Texas. This is called the Bargain of 1877 because
historians are so good at naming things and it basically killed Reconstruction.
Without any more federal troops in Southern states and with control of Southern legislatures
firmly in the hands of white democrats the states were free to go back to restricting
the freedom of black people, which they did. Legislatures passed Jim Crow laws that limited
African American’s access to public accommodations and legal protections.
States passed laws that took away black people’s right to vote and social and economic mobility
among African Americans in the south declined precipitously.
However, for a brief moment, the United States was more democratic than it had ever been
before. And an entire segment of the population that had no impact on politics before was
now allowed to participate. And for the freedmen who lived through it,
that was a monumental change, and it would echo down to the Civil Rights movement in
the 1950s and 1960s, sometimes called the second reconstruction.
But we’re gonna end this episode on a downer, as we are wont to do here at Crash Course
US History because I want to point out a lesser-known legacy of Reconstruction.
The Reconstruction amendments and laws that were passed granted former slaves political
freedom and rights, especially the vote, and that was critical.
But to give them what they really wanted and needed, plots of land that would make them
economically independent, would have required confiscation, and that violation of property
rights was too much for all but the most radical Republicans.
And that question of what it really means to be “free” in a system of free market
capitalism has proven very complicated indeed. I’ll see you next week.
Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is Meredith
Danko. The associate producer is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history
teacher, Raoul Meyer, and myself. And our graphics team is Thought Café.
Every week there’s a new caption for the libertage. You can suggest those in comments
where you can also ask questions about today’s video that will be answered by our team of
historians. Thank you for watching Crash Course. Don’t forget to subscribe. And as we say
in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome. reconstruction –

The Reagan Revolution: Crash Course US History #43


Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course
U.S. history, and today we’re going to talk about the guy who arguably did the most to
shape the world that I live in. NO, Stan not Carrottop. No, not Cumberbatch although he
did do the most to shape the Tumblr that I live in. I’m talking about The Great Communicator:
Ronald Reagan. Reagan is a fascinating president because
he was, in lots of ways, straightforward. His presidency was called the Reagan Revolution
but it’s a bit odd that he gets so much credit for changing America because he was
one of the least hands-on of all presidents and as you know here at Crash Course we don’t
really indulge in great man history. So we’re going to talk about Reagan but we’re also
going to talk about the forces that predated his presidency that led to the so-called Reagan
Revolution. Mr. Green? Mr Green? I remember some of this
stuff. It’s like almost interesting. I’m glad to be almost interesting me from
the past. Someday maybe you’ll be almost interesting.
Intro The Reagan era began, unsurprisingly, with
his election to the Presidency in 1980. Now, anyone could have beaten Jimmy Carter, but
Reagan succeeded largely by pulling together many strands of conservatism.
Reagan emphasized his belief in “states rights” and he condemned “welfare cheats.”
He also condemned busing and affirmative action. And he won the support of religious conservatives,
including the newly formed Moral Majority, by standing for family values, even though
in fact he was the first U.S. president to have been divorced.
Also, he once acted with a monkey. And there’s nothing “family values” about that.
Stan just informed me that Ronald Reagan did not in fact act with a monkey. He acted with
a chimp. I apologize to all the primate rights people out there. Good lord!
Now Reagan also appealed to the so-called white backlash, working class white people
who resented the advances that African Americans had made during the 1960s and the 1970s.
And economic conservatives liked his anti-union, low taxes, free market positions, and anti-government
crusaders and libertarians liked his assertion that government was not the solution to problems,
but was itself the problem. Then there were the Cold War hawks who liked
his militant anti-Soviet rhetoric and his desire to spend more on the military.
Now that’s a big coalition but it turned out to be just barely a majority coalition.
Still Reagan won in 1980. He even carried the traditionally Democratic
states of Illinois and New York proving that Jimmy Carter truly was profoundly unelectable.
A lot of Reagan’s policy ideas weren’t all that popular at the time, but he truly
was a great communicator. I mean Reagan’s was a former actor and he
knew how to talk to people without them feeling condescended to.
Reagan’s most famous campaign advertisement proclaimed that it was “morning in America”
again, and that relentless optimism (I mean at least if you’re a morning person) was
a welcome contrast to Jimmy Carter being like “you should wear sweaters inside to save
fuel.” Sorry Jimmy this is America! Ronald Reagan used the word “freedom”
more than any other president in American history, but it’s interesting to think about
what he meant by the word “freedom.” Because as we’ve seen in American history
freedom has meant lots of things to lots of people. Is freedom, freedom from government
tyranny? Or is freedom government protection from hunger
and homelessness and military attacks? Do governments ultimately restrict freedom
or provide it? Now there’s no question that the federal
government that Ronald Reagan inherited would have been absolutely foreign to the people
who founded this country. I mean Social Security, Federal Income Taxes,
the National Endowment for the Arts. But some people would argue that the America
of 1980 was much more free for more Americans than say the America of 1790 when after all
slavery was legal. And in fact in the early 19th century many
slave owners said that the government was taking away their freedom to own slaves.
Ultimately, the question for how we should imagine freedom and how we should allow for
it, is at the center of American history. And a big part of Ronald Reagan’s vision
of freedom was economic freedom, which he laid out in his Economic Bill of Rights.
It would curtain union power, reduce federal regulation of industry and the environment,
and most of all lower taxes. All these ideas were a big part of the Reagan
Revolution. But as we know much of what he proposed had been brewing for years during
the rise of conservatism. So what aspects this Economic Bill of Rights
actually ended up happening? Well, his main accomplishment was lowering taxes: in 1981
Reagan persuaded Congress to lower the top tax rate from 70% to 50%.
In 1986, Congress went even further with the Tax Reform Act that lowered the top income
tax rate to 28%. Oh, it’s time for the mystery document!
The rules here are simple… I read the mystery document, I either get
the author of it correct or I get shocked. Alright here we go. Can I just take a preliminary
guess and say that it’s going to be Reagan? “I will not accept the excuse that the Federal
Government has grown so big and powerful that it is beyond the control of any President,
any administration or Congress. We are going to put an end to the notion that the American
taxpayer exists to fund the Federal Government. The Federal Government exists to serve the
American people and to be accountable to the American people. On January 20, we are going
to re-establish that truth. Also on that date we are going to initiate
action to get substantial relief for our taxpaying citizens and to put people back to work. […] We
will simply apply to our government the common sense that we use in our daily lives.” It is Reagan! Stan is telling me that I’m not going to
get the check mark unless I guess the correct speech? Well he talked about January 20th, so obviously
it’s not his inaugural address. It’s either the acceptance speech he gave
at the convention or like the speech that he gave after he was elected. But I don’t
think…. convention? Yes! So the idea that to lower taxes is the best
way to spur economic growth is called supply side-economics, trickle down economics or,
if you’re George HW Bush running against Reagan in the 1980 primaries, voodoo economics. Sadly, this does not involve zombies or putting
pins in dolls. Instead, it’s about high interest rates to combat inflation coupled
with cutting taxes, especially for wealthy Those rich people then spend more and invest
more in private enterprise which creates new jobs. Also, the thinking goes that lower taxes will
encourage people to work harder since they will be able to keep more of their money. Did this work? Eh. Now we’re getting into
the part of history where it depends on your political perspective. Initially, the high interest rates definitely
provoked a recession in 1981 and 1982. Which was not ideal. But, inflation did drop from 13.5% in 1981
to 3.5% in 1988 and after 1982 the economy began expanding. And the rest of the Reagan era saw consistent
increases in gross domestic product; however, not everyone benefited from that expansion.
While the stock market boomed, wages didn’t rise very much. And in fact, haven’t risen
since. Now one of the central ideas of supply-side
economics is that you have lower tax rates and you also cut government spending. Because,
you know, the government has less money. Which, yeah, it did not happen. The government
is always good at cutting taxes but never good at cutting spending. The Reagan era did see cuts to some programs,
but the really expensive items: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, they remained largely
intact. And instead of cutting the overall amount
of spending it actually went up considerably because of the defense spending binge that
saw the national debt balloon to 2.7 trillion dollars. But Reagan totally did deliver on his anti-union
rhetoric. In August 1981, when the unionized air traffic controllers went out on strike,
violating federal law in the process, Reagan fired more than 11 thousand controllers who
refused to return to work.. So as I mentioned before, the 80’s were
a pretty great decade for Wall Street generally, which is why Oliver Stone made a movie about
it that immortalized the line “Greed is Good.” In the 1980s it became easier to make money
buying and merging companies than actually like running them profitably. But fortunately
we later dealt with that problem….. ugh. We never fix the problems, we only fix the
things that are fine. One of the reasons that American history is
so important to me is that I want us as a country to like summon the courage to deal
seriously with our problems. Sometimes I think that we’re just so cowardly like we’re
the cowardliest country on Earth… alright the French. Right, but like the merger of RJ Reynolds
Tobacco, maker of Winston cigarettes, and Nabisco, which gave us Oreos, not only created
a cancer and heart disease dream team, it also generated nearly $1 billion for the lawyers
and bankers who put the deal together. But if you were like most of us in the 80’s
watching Dallas and Dynasty, working at your regular job, inexplicably having a carpeted
bathroom, than you probably didn’t share in that abundance. The 80’s saw a rising economic inequality,
although not nearly as dramatic as we see today. By the mid 1990s the richest 1% controlled
40% of the nation’s wealth, double the share from 20 years before. Meanwhile the income of middle class families
stagnated and that of the poorest 20% began to decline. And one often overlooked aspect of de-regulation
was the closing of hospitals for the mentally ill. Now, some of these institutions were
hellish, but rapid closure of all of these facilities without replacement services meant
that many patients were left to live on the street. Homelessness increased dramatically. Now of course Reagan is considered the darling
of conservatives today, but by current standards he was something of a moderate. I mean yes, he cut taxes, and he cut funding
for programs that helped the poor like food stamps and school lunches. But during his second term he worked effectively
with the democratic congress. There’s no bipartisanship today. Also, he left the big New Deal and Great Society
programs largely intact. I mean he was too old to believe in cutting
Medicare. He was like “all of my friends are on this.” And the 80s also didn’t see the fulfillment
of the desires of the Christian Right. I mean divorce rates went up, abortion continued
to be legal, women didn’t leave the workforce. In fact, Reagan appointed the first woman
to the Supreme Court. Are you kidding? We didn’t have a woman in the Supreme Court
until the 1980s? This is the craziest country ever. Even affirmative action persisted, and Nancy
Reagan’s urging of Americans to “Just Say No” to drugs didn’t convince anybody. And then we have Ronald Reagan’s reputation
as the man who ended the Cold War. The thinking here goes that Reagan spent so much money
on defense that the Soviet Union bankrupted itself trying to compete. And there may be a case to be made there but
we don’t want to remove agency from the people who protested the oppression of life
behind the Iron Curtain. So while you can argue that the Reagan administration
helped create good conditions for the change that happened, the people who made the change,
made it. Alright. Let’s go to the ThoughtBubble. In his first term Ronald Reagan took a really
hard line against the Soviet Union. He called it an Evil Empire and even once joked that
the U.S. would “begin bombing in 5 minutes.” That was ill advised. Reagan also sponsored
the largest military buildup in U.S history including the MX missile. The highlight was his proposed Strategic Defense
Initiative aka Star Wars: space-based missiles and lasers for shooting Soviet missiles out
of the sky. This was a fantastic idea, although it would have violated the 1972 Anti-ballistic
Missile Treaty, but anyway it was technologically impossible to build. The force was not strong
with this idea. Reagan also pressured NATO to put missiles
in Western Europe and the war games that NATO staged in 1983 were so realistic that the
Soviets almost scrambled their planes and launched ICBMs. Now if that had resulted in nuclear war, we
would have a very different story on our hands, but it didn’t. And Regan’s aggressive
nuclear posturing had a couple of positive results. First, it boosted the world wide anti-nuclear
weapons movement, called the FREEZE movement. Second, it turned Reagan into the most successful
nuclear abolitionist in the atomic age. There’s nothing like a reasonably close
brush with nuclear apocalypse to tone down your rhetoric a little. In his second term
Reagan was much more conciliatory towards the Soviets and worked to reduce the number
of warheads. In his first term, according to the historian
Victor Sebastian, “[Reagan] spent nearly as much on defense as Presidents Nixon, Ford,
and Carter combined and much more than both the cost of the Korean and Vietnam wars,”[1]
but in his second, Reagan toned down both the spending and his rhetoric, declaring,
“Our constant and urgent purpose must be a lasting reduction of tensions between us.”[2] Thanks, Thought Bubble. So, Reagan was able
to negotiate the first reduction in nuclear weapons with the new Soviet Premier Mikhail
Gorbachev in 1986. In fact, the two leaders might have tried
to get rid of nuclear weapons altogether, but Reagan’s unwillingness to give up his
Star Wars initiative made that impossible. That was a big deal, but the rest of Reagan’s
foreign policy was somewhat less triumphant. For instance, he sent Marines to Lebanon as
part of a peacekeeping mission, but then withdrew forces after 241 of them were killed by a
car bomb. And Middle Eastern policy played a key role
in the biggest controversy of Reagan’s presidency: the Iran-Contra Scandal. This was truly one of the craziest schemes
ever hatched up by an American presidential administration. Which is really saying something. The Contras were rebels seeking to overthrow
the socialist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. Because they were anti-communists and the
Cold War was in full swing, the Reagan administration wanted to support them. But Congress passed
a law saying that they couldn’t. So two administration officials, John Poindexter
and Oliver North, got creative. They hatched a plan to sell arms to the Iranian government,
still technically our enemies, and then funnelled some of the profits from these illegal arms
sales to the Contras. And Congress would never have to know about
it. Except that they found out. Congressional hearings followed, and we learned
a lot about Ronald Reagan’s penchant for delegating the details of his policy to underlings. In this case, that served him well as he could
plausibly claim that he knew nothing about the clandestine activities of these two rogue
employees. And this gets to the big point of the Reagan
era. I’m not sure that it was really about Reagan. In fact, I’m not sure that any great-man
history is really about the great men that supposedly spearheaded it. Whether or not you think America is better
off from the rise of conservatism we’ve seen since LBJ’s great society. It wasn’t
really, and it still really isn’t about individuals. It’s about us collectively deciding what
we mean when we talk about freedom and equality. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is made with all the help from
these nice people. Who work on this show partly because they care it and partly because, you
know, money. If you want to help us in our mission to keep
Crash Course free for everyone forever, please consider subscribing over at Subbable. A voluntary
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exist. Thanks for watching Crash Course and as they
say in my hometown “It’s morning in America.” What should I say – “Don’t Forget To Be Awesome”?

Age of Jackson: Crash Course US History #14


Hi I’m John Green. This is Crash Course
U.S. history and today, after last week’s bummer on slavery, we turn to a happier topic:
the rise of democratization in the U.S. This was also known as the Age of Jackson,
no Stan, not that Jackson. No, no, Stan, come’on seriously. No not, no, no, no, no, no, no,
no, no, no, no, no. YES. That Jackson. Andrew Jackson.
intro …Sorry, I just had to check my collar.
Right, so you’ll recall that the initial democracy of the United States wasn’t terribly
democratic—almost all voters were white male land owners.
Mr. Green, Mr. Green. That’s just radically unfair.
Exactly, Me from the Past. But, between 1820 and 1850, this started to change. State legislatures
lowered, or else eliminated, the property qualifications for voting, which allowed many
more people to vote, so long as they were, you know, both white and male.
Mr. Green, Mr. Green. So, I’d be in, right? Yeah, that seems reasonable.
Yeah, Me from the Past, quick privilege check. One of the reasons we study history is so
that you can learn that people like you are not actually at the center of history, even
though, you know, you’ve been taught that. But, anyway, the whole idea of owning land
as a prerequisite for voting is sort of Jeffersonian— an individual who works his own land can be
truly independent, because he doesn’t need to rely upon markets to acquire stuff or,
God forbid, wages to give him money with which to buy stuff. No, he makes his own stuff and
he doesn’t need anybody…except for slaves and also women to make shoes and clothes and
to cook food and also make children. But, in light of the Market Revolution, the
idea of excluding wage workers seemed very outdated.
The idea of excluding women and non-white people, though, still quite popular.
But, this defining characteristic of the Age of Jackson really had very little to do with
Andrew Jackson himself because, by the time he became President in 1829, every state except
for North Carolina, Virginia, and Rhode Island had already gotten rid of their property requirements.
In fact, that’s probably why he got elected. Right so you’ll recall that America’s
mostly fake victory in the War of 1812 and the subsequent collapse of the Federalist
party ushered in the “Era of Good Feelings” which was another way of saying that there
was basic agreement on most domestic policies. The American System was a program of economic
nationalism built on (1) federally financed internal improvements,
like roads and canals, what we would now call “infrastructure”
(2) tariffs, to protect new factories and industries, and (3) a national bank that would
replace the First Bank of the United States whose charter expired in 1811.
You’ll never guess what we called this second bank, unless you guessed that we called it
“The Second Bank of the United States.” The main supporters of this American System
were our old friend John C. Calhoun and our new friend Henry Clay.
Both were Jeffersonian Republicans, which isn’t surprising because that was the only
political party, but it’s kind of surprising because the American System had nothing to
do with the Agrarian Republic that Jefferson had championed.
But whatever, this was the Era of Good Feelings, so we’re gonna go with it. By the way, this
nationalism also extended to foreign affairs. And if they did, we would, like, do stuff.
This so called “Monroe Doctrine” also said that the U.S. would stay out of European
wars. Hahahaha that is hilarious! But, we did live up to the other end of it,
you’ll remember that when the British came for the Falkland Islands, we were like, “This
shall not stand.” Just kidding. We were like, “Go ahead.”
The last Good Feelings era president was John Quincy Adams, who was quite the diplomat and
expansionist. He actually wrote the Monroe Doctrine, for instance.
But in fact, it turns out that all feelings were not good. There was significant disagreement
over three main issues. First, many people felt that the federal government
shouldn’t invest in infrastructure. Like, James Madison, who’d initially supported
those bills, ended up vetoing one of them that included a big spending increase to finance
roads and canals. Now, the roads and canals did get built, but,
in the end, most of the financing fell to the states.
There were also big problems with the Second Bank of the United States, which you know
is why you can’t visit a branch of it these days. But we’ll get to that in a minute!
And, lastly, there was the perennial issue of slavery. In this case the problem started,
as so many problems do, in Missouri. So, in 1819 Missouri had enough people in
it to become a state, but despite the fact that there were already more than 10,000 slaves
there, a New York congressman, named James Tallmadge, made a motion to prohibit the introduction
of further slaves into the proposed state. It took almost two years to work out the John
C. Calhounstorm that blew up after this. Actually, it took more than that. It took until the
end of the Civil War basically. But in the short run, Missouri was allowed
to enter the union as a slave state, while Maine was carved out of Massachusetts to keep
the balance of things. But the Missouri Compromise also said that
no state admitted above the 36 30 line of latitude would be allowed to have slaves,
except, of course, for Missouri itself, which as you can see, is well above the line.
Anyway, this solution to westward expansion worked out magnificently provided that you
enjoy Civil Wars. So, Thomas Jefferson, who was by the way was
still alive, which gives you some context for how young the nation truly was, wrote
that the Missouri Compromise was “like a fire bell in the night that awakened and filled
me with terror. I considered it at once the death knell of the union.”
Eventually, almost. But in the short term, it did mean the rise of political parties.
So, America was becoming more democratic, but if there was only one political party,
that democratic spirit had nowhere to go. Fortunately, there was a tiny little magician
named Martin Van Buren. They really did call him the “Little Magician,”
by the way. Also “The red fox of Kinderhook,” but we remember him as the worst-haired president.
So, despite having been President of the United States, Van Buren is arguably more important
for having invented the Democratic Party. He was first to realize that national political
parties could be a good thing. So, I mentioned that Martin Van Buren was
known as the “Little Magician, and I know this sounds a little bit silly, but I think
it’s telling. You see, Van Buren was only the second American
president with a well-used nickname. And the first was his immediate predecessor, Andrew
Jackson, or Old Hickory. Why does this matter? Well when you’re actually
having to campaign for office, as all presidential candidates did after the election of 1828,
and you’re trying to appeal to the newly enfranchised “common man” what better
way to seem like a regular guy than to have a nickname?
I mean, if you think this is crazy, just think of the nicknames of some some of our most
popular presidents. “Honest Abe,” “The Bull Moose,” “The Gipper.”
Even our lesser known presidents had nicknames. “Young Hickory,” “Handsome Frank;”
“Old Rough and Ready,” “Big Steve.” James Buchanan, and I am not making this up,
was “Old Public Functionary.” Who’re you gonna vote for? Oh, I think the
“Old Public Functionary.” He seems competent. As it happens, he wasn’t.
So, by now you’re probably wondering, where does Andrew Jackson fit into all of this?
When we last caught up with Jackson, he was winning the battle of New Orleans shortly
after the end of the War of 1812. He continued his bellicose ways, fighting
Indians in Florida, although he was not actually authorized to do so, and became so popular
from all of his Indian killing that he decided to run for president in 1824.
The election of 1824 was very close. And it went to the House, where John Quincy Adams
was eventually declared the winner. And Jackson denounced this as “a corrupt bargain.”
So, in 1828, Jackson ran a much more negative campaign—one of campaign slogans was “Vote
for Andrew Jackson who can fight, not John Quincy Adams who can write.”
Adams’ supporters responded by arguing that having a literate president wasn’t such
a bad thing and also by accusing Jackson of being a murderer, which given his frequent
habit of dueling and massacring, he sort of was.
So as you can see, the quality of discourse in American political campaigns has come a
long way. Anyway, Jackson won. Jackson ran as the champion of the common
man and in a way he was. I mean, he had little formal schooling and in some ways he was the
archetypal self made man. Jackson’s policies defined the new Democratic
party, which had formerly been known as the Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans. It’s
very complicated, so here, I made you this chart.
So who were these new Democrats? Well generally, they tended to be lower to middle class men,
usually farmers, who were suspicious of the widening gap between the rich and the poor
that was one of the results of the Market Revolution.
And they were particularly worried about bankers, merchants and speculators, who seemed to be
getting rich without actually producing anything. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.
This vision probably would have carried the day except a new party arose in response to
Jackson’s election: the Whigs. No, Stan, the Whigs. Yes.
The American Whigs took their name from the English Whigs, who were opposed to absolute
monarchy. And the American Whigs felt that Andrew Jackson
was grabbing so much power for the executive branch that he was turning himself into “King
Andrew.” So, the Whigs were big supporters of the American
System and its active federal government. You know, tariffs, infrastructure, etc.
Their greatest support was in the Northeast, especially from businessmen and bankers who
benefitted from those tariffs and the stability provided by a national bank.
And they also thought the government should promote moral character because that was necessary
for a person to act as a truly independent citizen.
So Jackson’s policies must have been pretty egregious for them to spawn an entire new
political party. What did he actually do as president? Well, let’s go to the Thought
Bubble. Let’s start with Nullification. So, in 1828,
Congress passed the Tariff of 1828 because they were not yet in the habit of marketing
their bills via naming them with funny acronyms. Jackson supported this in spite of the fact
that it benefitted manufacturers. The tariff raised prices on imported manufactured goods
made of wool and iron, which enraged South Carolina because they’d put all their money
into slavery and none into industry. Unlike northerners, who could avoid the higher
prices by manufacturing sweaters and pants and such at home, South Carolinians would
have to pay more. They were so angry at this “Tariff of Abominations” that the South
Carolina legislature threatened to nullify it. Jackson didn’t take kindly to this affront
to federal power, but South Carolina persisted, and when Congress passed a new tariff in 1832
– one that actually lowered the duties — the Palmetto State’s government nullified it.
Jackson responded by getting Congress to pass the Force Act, which authorized him to use
the army and navy to collect taxes. A full blown crisis was averted when Congress passed
a new tariff in 1833 and South Carolina relented. This smelled a bit of dictatorship – armed
tax collectors and all – and helped to cement Jackson’s reputation as a tyrant, at least
among the Whigs. And then we have the Native Americans, much
of Jackson’s reputation there was based on killing them, so it’s no surprise that
he supported southern states’ efforts to appropriate Indian lands and make the Indians
move. This support was formalized in the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which Jackson supported.
The law provided funds to re-locate the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creek and Seminole Indians
from their homes in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama. In response,
these tribes adopted a novel approach, and sued the government. And then, the Supreme
Court ruled that Georgia’s actions in removing the Cherokees violated their treaties with
the federal government and that they had a right to their land.
To which Jackson supposedly responded by saying, “John Marshall has made his decision. Now
let him enforce it.” So, Jackson set the stage for the forced removal of the Cherokees
from Georgia to Oklahoma, but it actually took place in the winter of 1838-1839 under
Jackson’s successor Van Buren. At least ¼ of the 18,000 Indians died during the forced
march that came to be known as the Trail of Tears.
Boy, Thought Bubble, you do know how to end on a downer. But, thank you.
But Andrew Jackson also changed our banking system. Just as today, banks were very important
to the industrial and mercantile development of the U.S.
And at the beginning of Jackson’s Presidency, American banking was dominated by the Second
National Bank, which you’ll remember, had been established by Congress as part of the
American system. Oh it’s time for the Mystery Document? The
rules here are simple. When I inevitably fail to guess the author
of the Mystery Document, I get shocked with the shock pen.
“The powers, privileges, and favors bestowed upon it in the original charter, by increasing
the value of the stock far above its par value operated as a gratuity of many millions to
its stockholders … Every monopoly and all exclusive privileges are granted at the expense
of the public which ought to receive a fair equivalent. The many millions which this act
proposes to bestow on the stockholders of the existing bank must come directly or indirectly
out of the earnings of the American people … Stan, I know this one! Is it not conceivable. It is not conceivable
how the present stockholders can have any claim to the special favor of Government.
Should [the bank’s] influence become concentrated, as it may under the operation of such an act
as this, in the hands of a self-elected directory … will there not be cause to tremble for
the purity of our elections[?]” It is Andrew Jackson’s veto of the charter
of the Second Bank of the United States. YES. So in 1832 bank leader Nicholas Biddle persuaded
Congress to pass a bill extending the life of the Second US Bank for 20 years.
Jackson thought that the Bank would use its money to oppose his reelection in 1836, so
he vetoed that bill. In fact, the reason I knew that was from the
veto message is because it talks about the bank as an instrument to subvert democracy.
Jackson set himself up as a defender of the lower classes by vetoing the bank’s charter.
Now, Whigs took exception to the idea that the president was somehow a more democratic
representative of the people than the legislature, but in the end Jackson’s view won out. He
used the veto power more than any prior president, turning it into a powerful tool of policy.
Which it remains to this day, by the way. So the Second Bank of the U.S. expired in
1836, which meant that suddenly we had no central institution with which to control
federal funds. Jackson ordered that money should be disbursed
into local banks, unsurprisingly preferencing ones that were friendly to him.
These so-called “pet banks” were another version of rewarding political supporters
that Jackson liked to call “rotation in office.” Opponents called this tactic of
awarding government offices to political favorites the spoils system.
Anyway, these smaller banks proceeded to print more and more paper money because, you know,
free money. Like, between 1833 and 1837 the face value
of banknotes in circulation rose from $10 million to $149 million, and that meant inflation.
Initially, states loved all this new money that they could use to finance internal improvements.
But, inflation is really bad for wage workers. And also, eventually, everyone.
So all this out-of-control inflation, coupled with rampant land-speculation eventually lead
to an economic collapse, the Panic of 1837. The subsequent depression lasted until 1843.
And Jackson’s bank policy proved to be arguably the most disastrous fiscal policy in American
history, which is really saying something. It also had a major effect on American politics
because business-oriented Democrats became Whigs, and the remaining Democrats further
aligned with agrarian interests, which meant slavery.
So the Age of Jackson was more democratic than anything that came before and it gave
us the beginnings of modern American politics. I mean, Jackson was the first president to
really expand executive power and to argue that the president is the most important democratically
elected official in the country. One of the things that makes Andrew Jackson’s
presidency so interesting and also so problematic is that he was elected via a more democratic
process, but he concentrated more power in the executive in a thoroughly undemocratic
way. In the end, Andrew Jackson probably was the
worst American president to end up on currency, particularly given his disastrous fiscal policies.
But the Age of Jackson is still important. And it’s worth remembering that all that
stuff in American politics started out with the expansion of democracy. Thanks for watching.
I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan
Muller. The script supervisor is Meredith Danko. Our associate producer is Danica Johnson.
The show is written by my high school history teacher, Raoul Meyer, and myself. And our
graphics team is Thought Cafe. If you have libertage caption suggestions,
please leave them in comments, where you can also leave questions about today’s video
that will be answered by our team of historians. Thanks for watching Crash Course and as we
say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome…WHAT.

Civil Rights and the 1950s: Crash Course US History #39


Episode 39: Consensus and Protest: Civil Rights
LOCKED Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course
U.S. history and today we’re going to look at one of the most important periods of American
social history, the 1950s. Why is it so important? Well, first because
it saw the advent of the greatest invention in human history: Television.
Mr. Green, Mr. Green! I like TV! By the way, you’re from the future. How does the X-Files
end? Are there aliens or no aliens? No spoilers, Me From The Past, you’re going
to have to go to college and watch the X-Files get terrible just like I did.
No it’s mostly important because of the Civil Rights Movement We’re going to talk
about some of the heroic figures like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, but much of the
real story is about the thousands of people you’ve never heard of who fought to make
America more inclusive. But before we look at the various changes
that the Civil Rights Movement was pushing for, we should spend a little time looking
at the society that they were trying to change. The 1950s has been called a period of consensus,
and I suppose it was, at least for the white males who wrote about it and who all agreed
that the 1950s were fantastic for white males. Consensus culture was caused first, by the
Cold War – people were hesitant to criticize the United States for fear of being branded
a communist, and, second, by affluence – increasing prosperity meant that more people didn’t
have as much to be critical of. And this widespread affluence was something
new in the United States. Between 1946 and 1960 Americans experienced a period of economic
expansion that saw standards of living rise and gross national product more than double.
And unlike many previous American economic expansions, much of the growing prosperity
in the fifties was shared by ordinary working people who saw their wages rise.
To quote our old friend Eric Foner, “By 1960, an estimated 60 percent of Americans
enjoyed what the government defined as a middle-class standard of living.”[1]
And this meant that increasing numbers of Americans had access things like television,
and air conditioning, and dishwashers and air travel. That doesn’t really seem like
a bonus. Anyway, despite the fact that they were being
stuffed into tiny metal cylinders and hurdled through the air, most Americans were happy
because they had, like, indoor plumbing and electricity.
intro The 1950s was the era of suburbanization.
The number of homes in the United States doubled during the decade, which had the pleasant
side effect of creating lots of construction jobs.
The classic example of suburbanization was Levittown in New York, where 10,000 almost
identical homes were built and became home to 40,000 people almost overnight.
And living further from the city meant that more Americans needed cars, which was good
news for Detroit where cars were being churned out with the expectation that Americans would
replace them every two years. By 1960, 80% of Americans owned at least one
car and 14% had two or more. And car culture changed the way that Americans
lived and shopped. I mean it gave us shopping malls, and drive thru restaurants, and the
backseat makeout session. I mean, high school me didn’t get the backseat makeout session.
But, other people did! I did get the Burger King drive thru though.
And lots of it. Our whole picture of the American standard
of living, with its abundance of consumer goods and plentiful services was established
in the 1950s. And so, for so for many people this era was
something of a “golden age” especially when we look back on it today with nostalgia.
But there were critics, even at the time. So when we say the 1950s were an era of consensus,
one of the things we’re saying is there wasn’t much room for debate about what it
meant to be an American. Most people agreed on the American values:
individualism, respect for private property, and belief in equal opportunity.
The key problem was that we believed in equal opportunity, but didn’t actually provide
it. But some people were concerned that the cookie
cutter vision of the good life and the celebration of the middle class lifestyle was displacing
other conceptions of citizenship. Like the sociologist C. Wright Mills described
a combination of military, corporate, and political leaders as a power elite whose control
over government and the economy was such as to make democracy an afterthought.
In The Lonely Crowd sociologist David Riesman criticized Americans for being conformist
and lacking the rich inner life necessary to be truly independent.
And John Kenneth Galbraith questioned an Affluent Society that would pay for new cars and new
missiles but not for new schools. And we can’t mention the 1950s without discussing
teenagers since this was the decade that gave us Rock and Roll, and rock stars like Bill
Haley and the Comets, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and Elvis Presley and his hips.
Another gift of the 1950s was literature, much of which appeals especially to teenagers.
Like, the Beats presented a rather drug-fueled and not always coherent criticism of the bourgeois
1950’s morals. They rejected materialism, and suburban ennui and things like regular
jobs while celebrating impulsivity, and recklessness, experimentation and freedom.
And also heroin. So you might have noticed something about
all those critics of the 1950s that I just mentioned: they were all white dudes. Now,
we’re gonna be talking about women in the 1950s and 1960s next week because their liberation
movement began a bit later, but what most people call the Civil Rights Movement really
did begin in the 1950s. While the 1950s were something of a golden
age for many blue and white collar workers, it was hardly a period of expanding opportunities
for African Americans. Rigid segregation was the rule throughout
the country, especially in housing, but also in jobs and in employment. In the South, public
accommodations were segregated by law, while in the north it was usually happening by custom
or de facto segregation. To give just one example, the new suburban
neighborhoods that sprang up in the 1950s were almost completely white and this remained
true for decades. According Eric Foner, “As late as the 1990s,
nearly 90 percent of suburban whites lived in communities with non-white populations
less than 1 percent.” And it wasn’t just housing. In the 1950s
half of black families lived in poverty. When they were able to get union jobs, black workers
had less seniority than their white counterparts so their employment was less stable.
And their educational opportunities were severely limited by sub-standard segregated schools.
Now you might think the Civil Rights Movement began with Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus
Boycott or else Brown v. Board of Education, but it really started during WW2 with efforts
like those of A. Philip Randolph and the soldiers taking part in the Double-V crusade.
But even before that, black Americans had been fighting for civil rights. It’s just
that in the 1950s, they started to win. So, desegregating schools was a key goal of
the Civil Rights movement. And it started in California in 1946.
In the case of Mendez v. Westminster the California Supreme Court ruled that Orange County, of
all places, had to desegregate their schools. They’d been discriminating against Latinos.
And then, California’s governor, Earl Warren, signed an order that repealed all school segregation
in the state. That same Earl Warren, by the way, was Chief Justice when the landmark case
Brown v. Board of Education came before the Supreme Court in 1954.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall had been pursuing a legal
strategy of trying to make states live up to the ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson that required
all public facilities to be separate but equal. They started by bringing lawsuits against
professional schools like law schools, because it was really obvious that the three classrooms
and no library that Texas set up for its African American law students were not equal to the
actual University of Texas’s law school. But the Brown case was about public schools
for children. It was actually a combination of 5 cases from 4 states, of which Brown happened
to be alphabetically the first. The Board of Education in question incidentally
was in Topeka Kansas, not one of the states of the old Confederacy, but nonetheless a
city that did restricted schooling by race. Oh, it’s time for the Mystery Document?
The rules here are simple. I read the Mystery Document. If I’m wrong,
I get shocked. “Segregation of white and colored children
in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater
when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually
interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects
the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a
tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive
them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system.
[Footnote 10]”[2] Stan, the last two weeks you have given me
two extraordinary gifts and I am thankful. It is Earl Warren from Brown v. Board of Education.
Huzzah! Justice Warren is actually quoting from sociological
research there that shows that segregation itself is psychologically damaging to black
children because they recognize that being separated out is a badge of inferiority.
Alright, let’s go to the Thought Bubble. The Brown decision was a watershed but it
didn’t lead to massive immediate desegregation of the nation’s public schools. In fact,
it spawned what came to be known as “Massive Resistance” in the South. The resistance
got so massive, in fact, that a number of counties, rather than integrate their schools,
closed them. Prince Edward County in Virginia, for instance,
closed its schools in 1959 and didn’t re-open them again until 1964. Except they didn’t
really close them because many states appropriated funds to pay for white students to attend
“private” academies. Some states got so into the resistance that they began to fly
the Confederate Battle flag over their state capitol buildings. Yes, I’m looking at you
Alabama and South Carolina. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to
move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama and got arrested, kicking off the Montgomery
Bus Boycott that lasted almost a year. A lot of people think that Parks was simply an average
African American working woman who was tired and fed up with segregation, but the truth
is more complicated. Parks had been active in politics since the
1930s and had protested the notorious Scottsboro Boys case. She had served as secretary for
the NAACP and she had begun her quest to register to vote in Alabama in 1943. She failed a literacy
test three times before becoming one of the very few black people registered to vote in
the state. And in 1954 she attended a training session for political activists and met other
civil rights radicals. So Rosa Parks was an active participant in the fight for black
civil rights long before she sat on that bus. The Bus Boycott also thrust into prominence
a young pastor from Atlanta, the 26 year old Martin Luther King Jr. He helped to organize
the boycott from his Baptist church, which reminds us that black churches played a pivotal
role in the Civil Rights Movement. That boycott would go on to last for 381 days and in the
end, the city of Montgomery relented. Thanks, Thought Bubble. So that was, of course,
only the beginning for Martin Luther King, who achieved his greatest triumphs in the
1960s. After Montgomery, he was instrumental in forming
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a coalition of black civil rights and church
leaders who pushed for integration. And they needed to fight hard, especially in the face
of Massive Resistance and an Eisenhower administration that was lukewarm at best about civil rights.
But I suppose Eisenhower did stick up for civil rights when forced to, as when Arkansas
Governor Orval Faubus used the National Guard to prevent the integration of Little Rock’s
Central High School by 9 black students in 1957.
Eisenhower was like, “You know, as the guy who invaded Normandy, I don’t think that’s
the best use for the National Guard.” So, Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division
(not the entirety of it, but some of it) to Little Rock, Arkansas, to walk kids to school.
Which they did for a year. After that, Faubus closed the schools, but at least the federal
government showed that it wouldn’t allow states to ignore court orders about the Constitution.
In your face, John C. Calhoun. Despite the court decision and the dispatching
of Federal troops, by the end of the 1950s fewer than two percent of black students attended
integrated schools in the South. So, the modern movement for Civil Rights had
begun, but it was clear that there was still a lot of work to do.
But the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement shows us that the picture of consensus in
the 1950s is not quite as clear-cut as its proponents would have us believe.
Yes, there was widespread affluence, particularly among white people, and criticism of the government
and America generally was stifled by the fear of appearing to sympathize with Communism.
But there was also widespread systemic inequality and poverty in the decade that shows just
how far away we were from living the ideal of equal opportunity.
That we have made real progress, and we have, is a credit to the voices of protest.
Next week we’ll see how women, Latinos, and gay people added their voices to the protests
and look at what they were and were not able to change in the 1960s. Thanks for watching.
I’ll see you then. Crash Course is made with the help of all
of these nice people and it’s possible because of your support through Subbable.com.
Subbable is a voluntary subscription service that allows you to subscribe to Crash Course
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to be awesome. ________________
[1] Foner Give me Liberty ebook version p. 992
[2] http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/347/483/case.html

Slavery – Crash Course US History #13


Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course U.S.
History, and today, we’re going to talk about slavery,
which is not funny. Yeah, so we put a lei on the eagle to
try and cheer you up, but let’s face it, this
is going to be depressing. With slavery, every time you think, like,
“Aw, it couldn’t have been that bad,” it turns
out to have been much worse. Mr. Green, Mr. Green! But what about – Yeah, Me from the Past, I’m going to stop you right
there, because you’re going to embarrass yourself. Slavery was hugely important to America. I mean, it led to a civil war and it also lasted what,
at least in U.S. history, counts as a long-ass time,
from 1619 to 1865. And yes, I know there’s a 1200-year-old church
in your neighborhood in Denmark, but we’re not
talking about Denmark! But slavery is most important because we still
struggle with its legacy. So, yes, today’s episode will probably not
be funny, but it will be important. [Theme Music] So the slave-based economy in the South is
sometimes characterized as having been separate from
the Market Revolution, but that’s not really the case. Without southern cotton, the North wouldn’t have been
able to industrialize, at least not as quickly, because
cotton textiles were one of the first industrially products. And the most important commodity in world trade
by the nineteenth century, and 3/4 of the world’s
cotton came from the American South. And speaking of cotton, why has no one mentioned
to me that my collar has been half popped this entire
episode, like I’m trying to recreate the Flying Nun’s hat. And although there were increasingly fewer slaves
in the North as northern states outlawed slavery, cotton shipments overseas made northern
merchants rich. Northern bankers financed the purchase of
land for plantations. Northern insurance companies insured slaves
who were, after all, considered property, and
very valuable property. And in addition to turning cotton into cloth
for sale overseas, northern manufacturers
sold cloth back to the South, where it was used to clothe the very slaves
who had cultivated it. But certainly the most prominent effects of
the slave-based economy were seen in the South. The profitability of slaved-based agriculture,
especially King Cotton, meant that the South
would remain largely agricultural and rural. Slave states were home to a few cities, like
St. Louis and Baltimore, but with the exception
of New Orleans, almost all southern urbanization took place in the upper
South, further away from the large cotton plantations. And slave-based agriculture was so profitable
that it siphoned money away from other economic
endeavors. Like, there was very little industry in the
South. It produced only 10% of the nation’s manufactured
goods. And, as most of the capital was being plowed into
the purchase of slaves, there was very little room for
technological innovation, like, for instance, railroads. This lack of industry and railroads would
eventually make the South suck at the Civil
War, thankfully. In short, slavery dominated the South, shaping
it both economically and culturally, and slavery
wasn’t a minor aspect of American society. By 1860, there were four million slaves in
the U.S., and in the South, they made up one
third of the total population. Although in the popular imagination, most plantations
were these sprawling affairs with hundreds of slaves, in reality, the majority of slaveholders
owned five or fewer slaves. And, of course, most white people in the South owned
no slaves at all, though, if they could afford to, they
would sometimes rent slaves to help with their work. These were the so-called yeoman farmers who
lived self-sufficiently, raised their own food, and
purchased very little in the Market Economy. They worked the poorest land and, as a result,
were mostly pretty poor themselves. But even they largely supported slavery,
partly, perhaps, for aspirational reasons, and partly because the racism inherent to the system
gave even the poorest whites legal and social status. And southern intellectuals worked hard to
encourage these ideas of white solidarity
and to make the case for slavery. Many of the founders, a bunch of whom you’ll remember,
held slaves, saw slavery as a necessary evil. Jefferson once wrote, quote, “As it is, we
have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither
hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is on one scale, and self-preservation
in the other.” The belief that justice and self-preservation
couldn’t sit on the same side of the scale
was really opposed to the American idea, and, in the end, it would make the Civil War inevitable. But as slavery became more entrenched in
these ideas of liberty and political equality were
embraced by more people, some southerners began to make the case
that slavery wasn’t just a necessary evil. They argued, for instance, that slaves benefited
from slavery. Because, you know, because their masters fed
them and clothed them and took care of them
in their old age. You still hear this argument today, astonishingly. In fact, you’ll probably see asshats in the
comments saying that in the comments. I will remind you, it’s not cursing if you
are referring to an actual ass. This paternalism allowed masters to see themselves
as benevolent and to contrast their family-oriented
slavery with the cold, mercenary Capitalism
of the free-labor North. So yeah, in the face of rising criticism of
slavery, some southerners began to argue that the
institution was actually good for the social order. One of the best-known proponents of this view
was John C. Calhoun, who, in 1837, said this
in a speech on the Senate floor: “I hold that, in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin and
distinguished by color and other physical differences
as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slave-holding states
between the two is, instead of an evil, a good. A positive good.” Now, of course, John C. Calhoun was a fringe
politician, and nobody took his views particularly
seriously. Stan: Well, he was Secretary of State from
1844 to 1845. John: Well, I mean, who really cares about
the Secretary of State, Stan? Danica: Eh, he was also Secretary of War from
1817 to 1825. John: All right, but we don’t even have a Secretary
of War anymore, so… Meredith: And he was Vice President from 1825
to 1832. John: Oh my god, were we insane?! We were, of course, but we justified the insanity
with Biblical passages and with the examples
of the Greeks and Romans, and with outright racism, arguing that black
people were inherently inferior to whites. And that not to keep them in slavery would
upset the natural order of things. A worldview popularized millennia ago by my
nemesis, Aristotle. God, I hate Aristotle. You know what defenders of Aristotle always
say? “He was the first person to identify dolphins.” Well, ok, dolphin identifier. Yes, that is what he should be remembered
for, but he’s a terrible philosopher! Here’s the truth about slavery: It was coerced labor that relied upon intimidation
and brutality and dehumanization. And this wasn’t just a cultural system, it
was a legal one. I mean, Louisiana law proclaimed that a slave
“owes his master… a respect without bounds,
and an absolute obedience.” The signal feature of slaves’ lives was work. I mean, conditions and tasks varied, but all
slaves labored, usually from sunup to sundown,
and almost always without any pay. Most slaves worked in agriculture on plantations,
and conditions were different, depending on
which crops are grown. Like, slaves on the rice plantations of South
Carolina had terrible working conditions, but they labored under the task system, which meant
that once they had completed their allotted daily work,
they would have time to do other things. But lest you imagine this is like how we have
work and leisure time, bear in mind that they
were owned and treated as property. On cotton plantations, most slaves worked
in gangs, usually under the control of an overseer,
or another slave who was called a “driver.” This was back-breaking work done in the southern sun
and humidity, and so it’s not surprising that whippings – – or the threat of them – were often
necessary to get slaves to work. It’s easy enough to talk about the brutality of slave
discipline, but it can be difficult to internalize it. Like, you look at these pictures, but because
you’ve seen them over and over again, they don’t
have the power they once might have. The pictures can tell a story about cruelty,
but they don’t necessarily communicate how
arbitrary it all was. As, for example, in this story, told by a
woman who was a slave as a young girl: “[The] overseer… went to my father one morning
and said, “Bob, I’m gonna whip you this morning.” Daddy said, “I ain’t done nothing,” and he
said, “I know it, I’m going to whip you to
keep you from doing nothing,” and he hit him with that cowhide – you know
it would cut the blood out of you with every lick
if they hit you hard.” That brutality – the whippings, the brandings,
the rape – was real, and it was intentional, because, in order for slavery to function,
slaves had to be dehumanized. This enabled slaveholders to rationalize what
they were doing, and it was hoped to reduce
slaves to the animal property that is implied
by the term “chattel slavery.” So the idea was that slaveholders wouldn’t
think of their slaves as human, and slaves
wouldn’t think of themselves as human. But it didn’t work.
Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. Slaves’ resistance to their dehumanization
took many forms, but the primary way was by
forming families. Family was a refuge for slaves and a source of
dignity that masters recognized and sought to stifle. A paternalistic slave owner named Bennet H. Barrow
wrote in his rules for the Highland Plantation: “No rule that I have stated is of more
importance than that relating to Negroes
marrying outside of the plantation… It creates a feeling of independence.” Most slaves did marry, usually for life, and,
when possible, slaves grew up in two-parent
households. Single-parent households were common, though,
as a result of one parent being sold. In the upper South, where the economy was
shifting from tobacco to different, less labor-intensive
cash crops, the sale of slaves was common. Perhaps one-third of slave marriages in states
like Virginia were broken up by sale. Religion was also an important part of life
in slavery. While masters wanted their slaves to learn
the parts of the Bible that talked about being
happy in bondage, slave worship tended to focus on the stories of Exodus,
where Moses brought the slaves out of bondage, or Biblical heroes, who overcame great
odds, like Daniel and David. And, although most slaves were forbidden to
learn to read and write, many did anyway. And some became preachers. Slave preachers were often very charismatic
leaders, and they roused the suspicion of
slave owners, and not without reason. Two of the most important slave uprisings
in the South were led by preachers. Thanks, Thought Bubble. Oh, it’s time for the Mystery Document? We’re doing two set pieces in a row? All right.
[buzzing noise] [music] The rules here are simple. I wanted to re-shoot that, but Stan said no. I guess the author of the Mystery Document. If I am wrong, I get shocked with the shock
pen. “Since I have been in the Queen’s dominions
I have been well contented, yes well contented
for sure, man is as God intended he should be. That is, all are born free and equal. This is a wholesome law, not like the southern
laws which puts man made in the image of God
on level with brutes. O, what will become of the people, and where
will they stand in the day of judgment. Would that the 5th verse of the 3rd chapter
of Malachi were written as with a bar of iron, and the point of a diamond upon every
oppressor’s heart that they might repent of this
evil, and let the oppressed go free…” All right, it’s definitely a preacher, because
only preachers have read Malachi. Probably African American, probably not someone
from the South. I’m going to guess that it is Richard Allen,
the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal
Church? [buzzing noise]
DAAAH, DANG IT! It’s Joseph Taper, and Stan just pointed out
to me that I should have known it was Joseph
Taper because it starts out, “Since I have been in the Queen’s dominions…” He was in Canada. He escaped slavery to
Canada. The Queen’s dominions! All right, Canadians, I blame you for this,
although, thank you for abolishing slavery
decades before we did. [electric sounds] AHHH! So, the Mystery Document shows one of the
primary ways that slaves resisted their oppression:
by running away. Although some slaves like Joseph Taper escaped
for good by running away to northern free states, or even to Canada, where they wouldn’t
have to worry about fugitive slave laws, even more slaves ran away temporarily, hiding out
in the woods or the swamps, and eventually returning. No one knows exactly how many slaves escaped
to freedom, but the best estimate is that a thousand
or so a year made the journey northward. Most fugitive slaves were young men, but the
most famous runaway has been hanging out behind
me all day long: Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman escaped to Philadelphia at
the age of 29, and over the course of her life, she made about 20 trips back to Maryland
to help friends and relatives make the journey
north on the Underground Railroad. But a more dramatic form of resistance to
slavery was actual, armed rebellion, which
was attempted. Now, individuals sometimes took matters into
their own hands and beat or even killed their
white overseers or masters. Like Bob, the guy who received the arbitrary
beating, responded to it by killing his overseer
with a hoe. But that said, large-scale slave uprisings
were relatively rare. The four most famous ones all took place in a
35-year period at the beginning of the 19th century. Gabriel’s Rebellion in 1800 – which we’ve
talked about before – was discovered before
he was able to carry out his plot. Then, in 1811, a group of slaves upriver from
New Orleans seized cane, knives, and guns, and
marched on the city before militia stopped them. And in 1822, Denmark Vesey, a former slave
who had purchased his freedom, may have organized
a plot to destroy Charleston, South Carolina. I say “may have” because the evidence against him
is disputed and comes from a trial that was not fair. But regardless, the end result of that trial
was that he was executed, as were 34 slaves. But the most successful slave rebellion, at
least in the sense that they actually killed some
people, was Nat Turner’s in August 1831. Turner was a preacher, and with a group of
about 80 slaves, he marched from farm to farm
in South Hampton County, Virginia, killing the inhabitants, most of whom were women
and children, because the men were attending a
religious revival meeting in North Carolina. Turner and 17 other rebels were captured and
executed, but not before they struck terror into the
hearts of whites all across the American South. Virginia’s response was to make slavery worse,
passing even harsher laws that forbade slaves from
preaching, and prohibited teaching them to read. Other slave states followed Virginia’s lead and, by
the 1830s, slavery had grown, if anything, more harsh. So, this shows that large-scaled armed
resistance was – Django Unchained aside – not just suicidal, but also a threat to loved
ones and, really, to all slaves. But, it is hugely important to emphasize that
slaves did resist their oppression. Sometimes this meant taking up arms, but usually
it meant more subtle forms of resistance, like intentional work slowdowns or sabotaging
equipment, or pretending not to understand instructions. And, most importantly, in the face of systematic
legal and cultural degradation, they re-affirmed
their humanity through family and through faith. Why is this so important? Because too often in America, we still talk
about slaves as if they failed to rise up, when, in fact, rising up would not have made
life better for them or for their families. The truth is, sometimes carving out an identity as a human being in a social order that is constantly seeking to dehumanize you, is the most powerful form of resistance. Refusing to become the chattel that their masters believed them to be is what made slavery untenable and the Civil War inevitable, so make no mistake, slaves fought back. And in the end, they won.
I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan
Muller. The script supervisor is Meredith Danko. Our associate producer is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history
teacher Raoul Meyer and myself. And our graphics team is Thought Cafe. Every week, there’s a new caption to the Libertage,
but today’s episode was so sad that we couldn’t
fit a Libertage in… UNTIL NOW!
[Libertage Rock Music] Suggest Libertage caption in comments, where
you can also ask questions about today’s video that
will be answered by our team of historians. Thanks for watching Crash Course, and as we
say in my home town, don’t forget to be abolitionist.

Iran’s Revolutions: Crash Course World History 226


Hi, I’m John Green and this is Crash Course
World History and today we’re talking about Iran. Oh, Mr. Green? Mr. Green? I know that country.
It’s in the Middle East. It’s with Egypt. No, Me from the Past, we’re going to talk
about Iran. Now, I used to be you so I remember when you would look at this part of the world
and you would be like, “oh yeah, that’s a thing.” And in your case that “thing” extended
more or less from I guess, like, western China to, like, uh, Poland. Then you’d make a bunch of broad generalizations
about that area and no doubt use the terms Arab and Muslim interchangeably. But as usual Me From the Past the truth resists
simplicity. So today we are going to talk about Iran and just Iran. Specifically, the
1979 Iranian Revolution. So the 1979 Iranian Revolution and its aftermath
are often seen by detractors as the first step in the creation of an isolated, fundamentalist
state that supports terrorism, and, you might be surprised to hear me say, that there is
some truth to that interpretation. That said, the way you think about the Iranian
Revolution depends a lot of which part of it you are looking at. And regardless, it’s very important because
it represents a different kind of revolution from the ones that we usually talk about. So the 1979 uprisings were aimed at getting
rid of the Pahlavi Dynasty, which sounds, like, impressive, but this dynasty had only had two
kings, Reza Shah and Mohammed Reza Shah. Before the Pahlavis, Iran was ruled by the
Qajar dynasty, and before that the Safavids. The Safavids and Qajars were responsible for
two of the most important aspects of Iran: The Safavids made Shia Islam the official
state religion in Iran, starting with Ismail I in 1501, and the Qajars gave the Muslim
clergy – the ulema – political power. So most of the world’s Muslims are Sunnis
but the Shia, or Shiites are an important sect that began very early on – around 680
CE and today form the majority of Muslims in Iran and Iraq. Now within both Sunni and Shia there are further
divisions and many sects, but we’re just going to talk about, like, the historical
difference between the two. Shia Muslims believe that Ali should’ve
been the first Caliph, Sunni Muslims think that Abu Bakr, who was the first Caliph, was
rightly chosen. Since that disagreement, there have been many
others, many doctrinal differences but what’s more important is that from the very beginning,
Shia Muslims saw themselves as the party of the oppressed standing up against the wealthy
and powerful and harkening back to the social justice standard that was set by the prophet. And this connection between religious faith
and social justice was extremely important to the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and also
to previous revolutions in Iran. This is really crucial to understand because
many historians argue that the Iranian revolution represents what the journalist Christian Caryl
called an “odd fusion of Islam and late-twentieth century revolutionary politics.” But actually, in the scheme of Iranian history,
its not so odd. Because 1979 was not Iran’s first revolution.
The first major one was in 1906. It forced the ruling Qajars to accept a constitution. It created a parliament and supposedly some
limits on the king, and made Shia Islam the official state religion, but it also protected
the rights of minorities in Iran. It ultimately failed partly because the clergy
withdrew their support, partly because the shah worked very actively against it, and
maybe most importantly, because the Russians and the British worked to keep Persia weak so they
could continue to try to dominate the region. Which reminds me that most people in Iran
are not Arabs, they are Persian. And most people in Iran don’t speak Arabic,
they speak Farsi, or as we often call it in English, Persian. So after WWI European rivalries really heated
up because of the discovery of oil in the Middle East. The British established the Anglo
Iranian Oil Company – which would later come to be known as BP. They also extracted a bunch of concessions
from the Iranian government in addition to extracting lots of oil. And they helped to engineer a change in dynasty
by supporting military commander Reza Khan in his coup in February 1921. Reza Khan became Reza Shah and then he attempted
to turn Persia, which he re-named Iran in 1935, into a modern, secular, western-style
state kind of like Turkey was under Ataturk. But Reza Shah is perhaps best remembered for
his over the top dictatorial repression, which turned the clergy against him. Okay, so during World War II Reza Shah abdicated
and his young son Mohammad Reza Shah became the leader of Iran. Which he remained, mostly,
until 1979 when he definitely stopped being the leader of Iran. So after World War II, the British allowed
greater popular participation in Iran’s government. The main party to benefit from this
openness was Tudeh, the Iranian communist party. Mohammed Mosaddegh was elected prime minister
in 1951 and led the parliament to nationalize Iran’s oil industry, and that was the end
of the democratic experiment. Now most history books say that in 1953 the
British and the CIA engineered a coup to remove Mosaddegh from office. And that is quite possibly true. It is definitely
true that we tried to engineer a coup. It’s also true that Mosaddegh quit and fled
Iran following demonstrations against him. But we also know that the Shia clergy encouraged
those demonstrations. That’s a bit of a weird decision for the
Clergy, considering that Shia Islam traditionally takes a radical stance against oppression. But it’s important to remember that Mosaddegh
was supported by the Tudeh party and they were communists. Nationalization of the oil industry was one
thing, but a further shift toward communism might mean appropriation of the land that
supported the clergy, maybe even a rejection of religion altogether. So now we’ve seen two occasions where the
Shia clergy support helped facilitate change. Right, in 1906 and again in 1953. So, let’s flash ahead to 1979. The Shah
was definitely an autocrat, and he employed a ruthless secret police called the SAVAK
to stifle dissent. In 1975, the Shah abolished Iran’s two political
parties and replaced them with one party the Resurgence party. You’ll never guess who
was resurging – the Shah. There was a huge round of censorship and arrests
and torture of political prisoners signaling that autocracy was in Iran to stay. But before those events in 1975, say between
1962 and 1975, by most economic and social measures Iran saw huge improvements. In 1963, the Shah had tried to institute what
he called a White Revolution – top-down modernization led by the monarchy, and in
many ways he was successful, especially in improving industry and education. Oil revenues rose from $555 million in 1964
to $20 billion in 1976. And the Shah’s government invested a lot
of that money in infrastructure and education. The population grew and infant mortality fell.
A new professional middle class arose. But the White Revolution wasn’t universally
popular. For instance, it was opposed by one particular Shia cleric – the Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini. Khomeini spoke out against the White Revolution
from the religious center of Iran, Qom. One of his main complaints was that the reforms
would grant more rights to women, including the right to vote, but he also attacked the
government for, quote: “the rigging of elections and other constitutional
abuses, neglect of the poor and the sale of oil to Israel.” And in general, Khomeini felt that a king’s
power was inherently un-Islamic and that Shia tradition was to fight that power. That noted about Khomeini, the 1979 revolution
didn’t start out to create an Islamic state. At first it was a pretty typical uprising
by dissatisfied Iranians to overthrow a government that they perceived as corrupt and unresponsive
to their needs. In spite of, or arguably because of, oil-fueled
economic growth, many Iranians weren’t enjoying economic success. The universities were turning
out more graduates than there were jobs and the mechanization of agriculture had the predictable
result of displacing farmers who moved to cities. Especially the capital city of Tehran where
there weren’t nearly enough jobs for the number of people. So, I think it’s unfair to say that a majority
of the demonstrators who took to the streets in late 1978 were motivated by a fundamentalist
vision of Islam. They were dissatisfied with economic inequality and political repression
and a corrupt regime. So why do we generally remember the 1979 revolution
as having been motivated by Shia Islam. Well, Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. So the initial demonstrations did begin after
an Iranian newspaper on January 7, 1978 published an article that was critical of Khomeini.
By the way, at the time he was living in Paris. These initial demonstrations were pretty small,
but when the government police and army forces starting firing on demonstrators, killing
some of them, the protests grew. Each time marchers protested against the violent treatment
of demonstrators, the government would crack down, and their violent reaction would spur
more demonstrations. There was also a lot of criticism of the west tied up in the revolution.
According to one woman who participated: “American lifestyles had come to be imposed
as an ideal, the ultimate goal. Americanism was the model. American popular culture – books,
magazines, film – had swept over our country like a flood…We found ourselves wondering
‘Is there any room for our own culture?’” The Shah never understood why so many people
were protesting against him; he thought that they were communists, or being supported by
the British. He also thought that merely bringing prosperity would be enough to keep him in
power. It wasn’t. On January 16, 1979 he left Iran.
He eventually ended up in the U.S., which had unfortunate consequences for diplomatic
relations between the U.S. and Iran. But the point here is that the first part
of the Iranian revolution was relatively peaceful protests followed by a government crackdown,
more protests that eventually led to the collapse of the monarchy, and that looks kind of familiar,
especially if you’ve studied, like, the French or Russian or even the American Revolutions. And most historians argue these protests weren’t
about Islam, but rather, “The discontent over living conditions, pay cuts, and the
threat of unemployment fused with the general disillusionment and anger with the regime.” The government that eventually replaced the
monarchy was the second, and in many ways much more revolutionary revolution. Thanks Thought Bubble. So the new Islamic
Republic of Iran was based on Khomeini’s idea about what an Islamic government should
be, a principle he called velayat-e faqih. Mainly it was that a sharia law scholar, would
have ultimate authority, because he was more knowledgeable than anyone about law and justice. There would be a legislature and a president
and a prime minister, but any of their decisions could be overturned by the supreme ruler who
from 1979 until his death was Khomeini. Now, if democracy is only about holding elections,
then the new Iran was a democracy. I mean, Iran has elections, both for president and
for the parliament. And for the record, despite what Khomeini
might have thought in the ‘60s, women can vote in Iran and they do. They also serve
in the parliament and the president’s cabinet. And in the referendum on whether to create
an Islamic Republic of Iran, the vast majority of Iranians in a free and open vote, voted
“yes.” Now governance in Iran is extremely complicated,
too complicated for one Crash Course video. But in once sense at least, Iran is definitely
not a democracy. The ultimate authority, written into the constitution,
is not the will of the people but god, who is represented by the supreme religious leader.
And the actions of the Islamic Republic, especially in the early chaotic days of 1979 but also
many times since, don’t conform to most ideas of effective democracy. Like one of the first things that Khomeini
did to shore up his support was to create the Islamic Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah
to defend the revolution against coup attempts. Although initially there were opposition parties,
their activities were curtailed by the new “revolutionary courts” that applied sharia
law in a particularly harsh fashion. Like it’s estimated that by October 1979,
several hundred people had been executed. And under the new constitution, Khomeini was
given extensive power. I mean, he could appoint the heads of the armed services, and the Revolutionary
Guard and the national TV and radio stations. He also approved the candidates for presidential
elections and appointed six of the twelve members of the Guardian Council that approved
legislation from the parliament before it became law. So structurally Iran’s government looked
kind of like other governments, but as Michael Axworthy points out it was different because,
quote, “above and beyond stood the faqih, with the power and the responsibility to intervene
directly in the name of Islam; indeed with powers greater than those given to most monarchs
in constitutional monarchies.” By 1979, Iran already had a long history of
clerical involvement in protest and dynamic change, but it also had a long history of
pushing for constitutions and liberty. The current end result is the Islamic Republic
of Iran, but it’s worth remembering that both those threads of history are still part
of Iranian life. Like we saw that in 2009 and 2010 with the
so-called Green Revolution where there were huge protests after an Iranian election. Those
protests involved young people arguing for more rights and liberties.. But they were also led
by, and encouraged by, reformist Shia clerics. In the U.S. we mostly remember the 1979 Iranian
Revolution for its burning of American flags and taking of hostages in the American Embassy. That belonged more to the second phase of
the revolution, the chaotic period when the Islamic republic was being born. Life in the Islamic Republic of Iran remains
highly repressive. I mean, for instance, Iran still executes a very high percentage of criminals. But it’s inaccurate to say that Iran is
merely a dictatorship, or that it’s merely repressive. And one of the challenges for
people in the West trying to understand Iran is that we have to disentangle the various
aspects of the revolution rather than simply relying on the images that have defined it
for us. I hope this episode can help a little. You
can find more resources in the links below. Thanks for watching. Crash Course is filmed here in the Chad and
Stacey Emigholz studio in Indianapolis and it’s made possible because of the hard worth
of all of these people. Thank you for watching and as we say in my
hometown, “don’t forget to be awesome.”

Early Elizabethan Society 1558-1588: Government and Society



hi there guys so today I'm gonna look at Elizabeth government as the situation in the country the way society was structured at the beginning of an isthmus reign so when she becomes Queen in 1558 he inherits a government that has been up until this point run by Mary the first Catholic leaders so well the key thing she needs to do is to quickly get her own leaders into the place the structure of the government was quite complicated elizabeth is the supreme ruler she is the person who makes all the decisions she does have a parliament and they do provide advice she's got the House of Lords which we have today and she also has to have a comment but it's really important that you know that the House of Lords was mostly made up of the noblemen and bishops of the day well as the House of Commons was elected but very few people could vote for example women were excluded from the vote people who didn't own land or exclude from the right the fact unless you are a wealthy noble with no way you could like Parliament was in charge of passing laws and approving taxes however they very rarely argued with the cream all of these laws that were passed were then put into place by the criminal system of the day so large landowners were usually appointed justices of the peace they were not paid for their role and it was really in their interest to keep law and order in in the local area and they did sometimes hear local court cases above them you have the Lord Lieutenant even noblemen who were appointed by the government and governed English courtiers they raised local militia if needed and Jerry oversaw that the law is being followed in the country then much closer to Elizabeth we had the court which was mostly made up of noblemen – the members of the court we're usually Elizabeth friend and her advisors people she had specifically chosen their job really with make Elizabeth look good they showed off her well and they gave her advice on day to day matters they could also members of the Privy Council which is the other key group of people who were in charge of advising Elizabeth these were again nobility Elizabeth chosen friends they were in charge of helping Elizabeth to make decisions about the country they monitored Parliament they made sure that the justices of peace and the overseers were doing their jobs I'm making sure that law and order and the country was secure okay so Elizabethan society was very unequal there were those who were able to say no to old lie meanwhile there was some extreme poverty in Elizabeth England there were many people who were homeless or vagrant wandering from place to place asking for support so once you're out in the countryside there was a particular structure it was the nobility right at the top of the tree quickly followed by the gentry who are also landed people but they're not nobility they're not lords and dukes and so on they're just landowners below then we've got the farmers if you can owned their land so these people were known as yeoman they owned their own land and they farmed their own land but below them were the tenant farmers these people did not own their land and they have to pay rent in order to use the land for farming then you get the people who have no land whatsoever the people who do the main jobs the neighborhood out in the countryside and these people were really quite cool and again as I said to you there are those homeless people and the vagrant and people really much as they do today look down on these people tear into a little bit different to the countryside we kind of imagined I think Elizabethan being this kind of Placid countryside England but it really wasn't the social hierarchy in towns was much more based on Commerce so at the top of the tree in the towns you've got the merchants these are traders who become extremely wealthy many of them are in charge of importing and exporting particularly exporting things like English wool which is really marketable around the country below the merchants these incredibly wealthy people were then the professionals the people we think has been professionals today lawyers doctors and also the clergy phone to this category then you had some of the really high skilled craftsmen people who could make intricate beautiful things silversmith Taylor's carpenters all those people then fall into that next category these are the people who own those businesses and below them are the people that they employ the skilled employees of those craftsmen and then finally you've got again your laborers and your unemployed people people have got no regular work remember there's no contract you can get here you can't get a permanent contract on a job you're basically turning up every day and hoping that someone will give you a job so in terms of being the law there wasn't a police force as we know it today there is quite simply a local watchman who sort of just basically reports on things that people are up to and he reports to the justice of the peace so he goes and he tells just as a piece was going on and if you're not attending church on a Sunday or you get a bit drunk and rowdy in the pub at the weekend you get dragged before the justice of the peace if you commit crimes more serious than that then you might go up against the courts but usually most things are dealt with us a local level okay that's everything today Swift introduction into Elizabethan society check out my other videos to see what are the problems Elizabeth inherited when she became Queen I've been the history teacher you can follow me on twitter at the histy you can also email me directly if you've got any specific questions don't forget to subscribe and like below and if you've got any comments or questions that you'd like me to deal with in the future please sit them in the comment and I will be happy to help I'll see you all next time you

LSBF – ACCA P1: Lecture on Governance in Different Countries



before we move on and look at corporate governance in different parts of the world and in different types let's just take a little bit of a review of what we've seen in corporate governance and just ask a couple of questions to help understand the knowledge we've picked up so far one aspect of corporate governance we've looked at is the growing importance of the non-executive director if you were to go back and look at boards of directors 15 20 25 years ago you're likely to find that the composition of the board was much more angled towards executive directors with maybe only one or two non executives giving advice on strategy sort of acting as consultants but not really doing much else now of course boards are expected to have at least half their membership as not only non executives but independent non-executives as close to true Outsiders monitoring what the board is doing now we've already seen that there are some fairly clear advantages of doing this for corporate governance but let's consider both the pros and the cons of having non executives on the board firstly the advantages bear in mind that the average non-executive director is not just sitting on your board as a non-executive the chances are they're also the non-executive at one or two other companies they are probably older than the average board member and also there's a fairly good chance they're also in an executive position at another company so many non executives are simply an executive from Company A who also spends a little time at several other companies as well and we need to consider how many other companies you could be a non-executive of at the same time and still be able to add value that's coming up shortly but that experience from other companies and that experience from the fact that the non-executive is probably older and a see more of business life than the other directors and bringing that outside view should be a real benefit to the company of course another key benefit of having non executives on the board is their independence the fact that they should challenge what the directors the executive directors are planning to do there's always a danger that because the executives work together day by day they sort of form a bit of a Club and all agree on the same thing so to have someone from outside challenging that is clearly a good thing so by having non-executives in place shareholders and maybe other stakeholders as well should gain more assurance that the company is being properly managed well we probably knew all that already didn't we we've been arguing why we need non-executives so we've sort of focused on the positives already what about the negatives companies need to have quite a few non executives on the board firstly to make sure that that 50% rule is satisfied that at least half of the board are independent non-executives and don't forget with three committees to staff primarily with non executives you're going to need quite a few to make sure those committees have enough people on them non-executive directors are not going to be cheap they are experienced people and whilst they're not going to be spending a huge amount of time at the company they need to spend enough time to know what's going on and they're not going to be cheap on terms of a daily rate also the fact that you've got non executives in the room challenging strategy whilst often is going to be a good thing may slow things down as they may feel the need to challenge everything just to make sure it's been properly thought through and one would hope that a lot of things have already been properly thought through another potential downside is the fact that if non executives are not spending that much time at the company and are also working at other companies at the same time just how much value can they actually add is the time commitment and the fact that they are potentially spreading themselves too thinly going to reduce their effectiveness in fact there have already been cases where there were non executives on the board but they didn't seem to have a full understanding of what was going on Enron being the perfect example the Continental executives are only at the company for a fairly small amount of time each month primarily to attend board meetings and committee meetings there is a danger that their lack of inside knowledge of what's happening at the company means that they are too willing and ready to accept what the executives tell them bear in mind the executives are in full control of the company on a day-by-day basis and as such they know the truth there have been several reports that your average non-executive doesn't really completely trust the information being given by the executives this might suggest that if non executives are really going to have a useful monitoring role they should probably spend more time at the company the problem of course being that the more time they spend there the more danger there is that they become too close to the executives and lose that independent nature so there we go a few small thoughts about non executives clearly there are benefits but potentially there could be problems as well bear in mind that although the directors all sit on a single board although that is also something we'll need to look at as in some countries they don't sit on a single board but if all the directors sit on a single board there is a danger that groups start forming with the executives turning up to board meetings expecting a fight with the non executives and that can of course reduce the effectiveness of the board in running the company as a whole let's move on now to a second consideration based on information and detail that we've seen so far on the course by looking at board committees as we know companies are expected to have at a minimum three committees of independent non-executives the remuneration committee the nomination committee and the audit committee let's remind ourselves of the benefits of having committees and then take a look at maybe the downsides that could arise as well firstly the positives okay you having a separate committee makes it clear that you're taking the importance of particular areas to heart so it helps to highlight the importance of the nomination of new directors directors pay and the role of audit on top of that there are certain members of the board we don't really want around when certain decisions are being taken so using separate committees helps to ensure that those people aren't in the room and thirdly having an entire board of directors involved in every single decision is potentially quite a slow process even if the Board of Directors only has seven or eight people on it getting seven or eight people to agree on things can take a bit of time so maybe it's a good idea to get three specialists put them in a room together and let them advise the main board on what a good decision might be so some fairly clear benefits of having board committees what about the downside well the main downside is that whenever you introduce a new committee its another stage of the decision-making process bear in mind that the committee's will go back to the boards with recommendations but the board still need to agree to them if the board wish to further debate what the committee have suggested it may actually slow the process down on top of that of course by having the committee's you introduce the need for more and more non executives and that costs money it also cost the time of going and finding these non executives of course they need to be independent so simply finding your friends to sit on these committees is not going to work it's important for the exam that you are willing to consider that the things that corporate governance recommends are not perfect solutions the advantages of most of them are fairly clear because corporate governance is seeming to be improved and as a result it's fairly easy for us to see why these things are there but just be willing to take a step back and look at the downsides as well it's not always a one-way street so far in looking at corporate governance we've been focusing on the corporate governance guidance found in the UK's combined code what we need to do now is just consider how corporate governance differs around the world firstly by comparing the UK's combined code with sarbanes-oxley the American corporate governance law we need to consider the differences between a code based system of guidance as in the UK and a legally backed system as with sarbanes-oxley and then we'll also consider how corporate governance varies in different types of culture once we've looked at corporate governance in different parts of the world and how things vary we'll then ask the question should we be calling this corporate governance or just governance organizational governance are there things that non corporates can learn from corporate governance and what about smaller companies rather than listed companies can they learn something too so we'll look at governance in different types of organization just to get a feel for how appropriate it is and how far such organizations have taken things but firstly let's look at the UK's combined code we'll take a brief look at the history to see how it's built up into what we have today because that will help us to understand how the code is put together so let's go back to the early 1990s and the starting point for the UK's combined code of corporate governance as you'll remember from an earlier video there were a number of corporate failures in the late 1980s and early 1990s and some of them were very high-profile in the UK as a result in the late 80s and early 90s government and also the stock exchange were keen to try to investigate what was going wrong and to try to help companies and in some cases push companies towards better governance Adrienne Cadbury was put in charge of a committee to try to find out what was the best way of running big listed companies and in 1992 after surveying the thoughts of most of the big companies in the UK on the stock exchange the Cadbury code of best practice was brought out as a code of best practice the recommendation was that everyone should follow it but equally there was an acceptance that certain aspects of it might not always be the best solution for every company as a result the stock exchange adopted the Cadbury code in its listing rules and the rule was that all companies either had to follow the code and issue a statement that they had complied with it or explain any deviations they had taken so that was 1992 and the Cadbury code and to a great extent most of what the Cadbury code said in 1992 is still sitting in corporate governance so you'd recognize most of the content after the Cadbury code in 1992 we waited until 1995 for the next major piece of governance you've already heard the story of a pig called Cedric and the British Gas AGM and the concerns about directors pay the fact that executive directors seemed to get big pay rises even if companies were not doing very well the fact that when executive directors lost office when they were removed or left they often walked away with very big payments sometimes questions being asked about whether such payments were deserved some companies were paying their directors retention awards basically paying them not to leave the board and whilst a bit of board consistency makes a lot of sense again simply paying someone to stay when potentially they may have had no plans to leave in the first place is not necessarily something that we would agree with so in 1995 we had the green berry report which looked at directors remuneration and we've already looked at remuneration and the key points that it included including the importance of performance-related pay so let's just make a note of where we've got to so far in 1997-1998 we'd had the Cadbury code for around five years and it seemed like a good time for a bit of a review to see how well it was working the Hampel report looked into the effectiveness of the Cadbury code over its first five years and also looked at how well the green berry recommendations on directors remuneration were working and in 1998 we had the Hampel report to a great extent not a huge amount changed one thing that Hampel did suggest is that the Cadbury code and the green berry report and also handles own recommendations were all put together into a single document and so the combined code was born one major point that Hampel did make is that there was a concern that companies were simply saying yes we've complied and that as a result the Cadbury code had become a bit of a box-ticking exercise yes we've complied or no we haven't the concerns that companies were not really thinking about how to comply they were simply doing what they were told without a huge amount of thought behind it so Hampel tried to change things to make it a more principles based code so that instead of doing X you had to try to achieve X and if you have something like you must have an effective board of directors well how do you know if you have an effective board of directors that is the sort of point that requires thought and requires companies to actually describe how they're going to achieve it one of the other points that came out of handles review of corporate governance was that boards of directors wanted a bit more help and guidance with their internal control systems this was taken on as a separate project by Nigel Turnbull and in 1999 he brought out a report giving guidance on what a sound internal control system might look like and in a later part of this course we'll take a look at internal control systems and what Turnbull advised so as we headed to the Millennium that's what we had a combined code with the original Cadbury recommendations Green breeze thoughts on directors pay handfuls revisions especially moving it to a more principles based approach and Turnbull's thoughts on internal controls and then everything went relatively quiet in fact there was a feeling that corporate governance was pretty much there and that the major problems had been dealt with and then Enron happened in December 2001 Enron filed for bankruptcy in the United States of America it wasn't the only big corporate collapse around that time but it's probably the one that's most famous as a result of Enron and also WorldCom another major corporate disaster the American government decided they needed to act the result of this was that within eight months of Enron filing for bankruptcy the sarbanes-oxley laws were brought out now we'll look at sarbanes-oxley in a little while and compare it with UK corporate governments but before we do that let's just carry on the story in the UK now the story of Enron is a complicated one and involves accounting standards in America which are different to what we use in Europe and in Britain especially and there was a general feeling that what Enron have managed to do would have been impossible in Britain having said that it's always a good idea to learn from mistakes even if those mistakes seem to be happening somewhere else so in Britain we looked at our corporate governance looked at what had happened with one especially and asked could we learn anything two of the major concerns with Enron were the performance of the non-executive directors and also the role of the auditors so as a result of this in the UK two separate committees were set up after Enron in 2002 to look at the role of non-executive directors and the role of audit and the audit committee in 2003 the reports of these two committees came out and alterations were made to non executives and to the role of auditing in particular the independence of non executives was strengthened as a result of this and the role of non executives more clearly defined we've already looked at the roles of non-executive directors you may remember there are four of them and that was put together in the Higgs report of 2003 now it's important to appreciate that the combined code is a document that is always being questioned and potentially updated since 2003 we've had another update in 2006 and also some minor changes being put through in 2007 2008 but for the time being the combined code seems to be a fairly settled document in general there is support for the way it works most companies seem to be relatively happy and seem to have adopted it now as pretty much the standard by which they should operate some other countries have changed their corporate governance provisions in line with UK's combined code now the UK's combined code is described as a comply or explain system what this means is this it is not law it is not a set of rules that you absolutely must follow with punishment if you don't and we'll look at how that differs from the American system which is a set of laws shortly under the UK system the combined code is described as a code of best practice in essence it is a voluntary code but the expectation is that most companies will follow it because as a code of best practice you'd need a pretty strong argument as to why you wouldn't follow it but if you're a listed company in the UK it is not really voluntary at all because for listed companies you are required to comply with it or explain those bits that you haven't complied with and why now it is very difficult if most companies are doing something and it's described as best practice for you to justify why it's not so important for your company and in fact many companies who've tried not to comply with it have found they get a lot of criticism especially in the press and from their investors that they're not complying the result of this is the vast majority of companies attempt to comply with everything although there are exceptions so a complier or explain approach is not really voluntary at all and the examiner has made a big point of this generally companies will comply and you need a pretty strong reason not to now we've already seen one example of a company not complying we mentioned ITV when looking at the chairman chief executive debate ITV have an executive chairman Michael grade is both chairman and chief executive so in their annual report they have to explain that that point of the combined code has not been followed and then explain why they're breaching it in a more recent example of the same issue Marks and Spencer have recently elevated their chief executive Sir Stuart rose to become executive chairman as well so again he is chairman and chief executive the interesting thing about this example is that not only the Marks & Spencer have to put this in their annual report but because it has received such bad reaction from some of their investors and from the press Marks & Spencer not only justify this in their annual report they individually wrote to all of their shareholders trying to explain why they felt it was necessary to do it so justifying your non-compliance with corporate governance might go beyond using the annual report as you may need to justify it over and over to your shareholders before they're willing to accept it and with Marks and Spencers whilst the shareholders have accepted this at their AGM there is still a danger that in the near future they decide that this was not the right solution and force Stuart rose off the board what are the benefits of a complier explained approach as against a comply or else approach in other words law well some of the good things about comply or explain is that it's flexible it accepts the fact that in some situations there may not be one standard set of rules for everybody and so to a certain extent it has become self-governing generally companies will follow and you really need a very good explanation as to why you should breach it what's nice about that is that because it's self-governing the burden of law is less potentially corporate governance can be changed more quickly because it doesn't have to go through a legal process and it tends to get more support from the business world because it's not seen as additional red tape it's hard to complain about rules if there is a condition that says you don't have to follow them if they really don't apply to you so there seem to be some fairly clear advantages the danger of course is that if you allow companies not to follow what looks like best practice some of the justifications for not following might not be that good at the moment at least investors seem quite keen on corporate governance so any non-compliance is likely to be questioned but there may come a time when some companies don't follow the code and use fairly weak explanations in order to get around it so that is comply or explain now there is another issue that we need to think about with regards to the UK's code it is very much a principles-based code rather than rules it's similar to the comply or explain verses law argument but we'll wait until we've looked at the sarbanes-oxley rules in America the sarbanes-oxley Act or Sox as it's known for short before we look at that comparison in any more detail so now we've spent a bit of time looking at the UK's combined code let's now take a look at sarbanes-oxley in December 2001 as we know Enron filed for bankruptcy it was a major corporate collapse in America and it had far-reaching effects it probably increased its importance that Enron were based in Houston Texas which happens to be the same state where the president George Bush comes from in fact it probably increased its importance that the chairman of Enron Ken Lay was the biggest individual donor to George Bush's presidential campaign so George Bush and the chairman of Enron were rather close the collapse of Enron was not greeted very well in America there were other corporate collapses at the same time WorldCom being probably the second most famous next to Enron and the results of these corporate collapses was that the American government needed be seen to act quickly now America tends to go for rules rather than principles it's an American trait but the fact that George Bush probably felt that he had to be seen to be harsh in this situation just increased the likelihood that rules were going to come out of it so in July 2002 the sarbanes-oxley Act was passed named after the two politicians sar bein and Oxley who sponsored it through the American House of Representatives and the American Senate in other words American government now apart from the fact that the sarbanes-oxley Act is law how else does it differ from the UK's combined code bear in mind it came around 10 years later and so maybe conditions were different but despite that most of what sarbanes-oxley covers is pretty much the same stuff as the combined code so it looks at the nature of the board non-executives independence of non executives board committees risk management etc etc so most of its content will be familiar to you if you've looked at the combined code in the UK but there are some notable differences not just in content but in the nature of that content and let's just take a quick look at some examples of that we'll start off with the importance of the accuracy of the financial statements in the UK of course the Board of Directors signs off the financial statements but under the sarbanes-oxley Act to try to increase the personal responsibility of getting those accounts right the chief executive and chief financial officer must put a written declaration into each annual report and also quarterly reports as well stating that the financial statements are accurate it's a personal sworn testimony this means of course that if it turns out that the financial statements are not accurate far more personal responsibility can now be attached to the CEO and the CFO in fact if it then turns out that the accounts are not accurate and they have to be stated any bonuses paid to those directors have to be repaid now potentially that could be very harsh indeed one of the most well known or even infamous areas of sarbanes-oxley is section 404 which looks at internal controls now remember the combined code in the UK says that companies need a sound system of internal controls and to make sure that its sound and effective should check that system of internal controls at least once a year but under sarbanes-oxley it goes further not only must companies have a sound system of internal controls they must also have suitable documentation in place to provide evidence that that system is working and on an annual basis the directors must do a full review of the internal control system against agreed criteria and report the results of that review in their annual report thus providing assurance that the internal control system is working on top of that their auditors have got to also provide a report saying that they have checked the internal control systems over financial reporting themselves and give their opinion as to whether they're working under the American system this is called an attestation report now typically an attestation is where somebody says something and someone else attests in other words bears witness to the fact that what they've said is true but in sarbanes-oxley it actually goes further than that and to be realistic what the auditors have got to do is a full audit of the internal controls over financial reporting at the company now as part of a normal audit process of the financial statements the auditors would of course look at the strength of internal controls but this is far more detailed basically if the directors say we have checked the internal control systems against these criteria and we believe they work the auditors have got to check that entire statement it is a varied eles piece of work it will take a lot of time and be very costly the result of all of this is that the costs of control systems in American companies have gone through the roof and when I say American companies bear in mind that sarbanes-oxley applies to any company with an American listing and in order to get access to American investment a lot of foreign companies also have listings on American stock exchanges in fact some when sarbanes-oxley came out were so appalled by the extra costs of complying with it that they ditched their American listings in order to avoid it some American companies left American stock exchanges and re listed in Europe where corporate governance tends to be a little less harsh so the internal controls issue is a big one let's just note down exactly what sarbanes-oxley requires companies to do so that's what the company has got to do and to prove that it's actually done this don't forget they also have to keep documentary evidence of the control system and of the assessment that they have done what we now need to do is have a brief look at the American auditors role in this internal controls assessment remember sarbanes-oxley requires the auditors to issue what is called an attestation report confirming that the board have done what they've said they've done but the thing is that the internal control report that the board put in is so detailed the only way to confirm that they have done what they've said they've done is basically to audit the internal controls yourself so that you can agree or disagree with the directors conclusions as to the effectiveness of that system you of course as a board of directors in America knowing that the full force of the law will come down on you if you don't do this properly means that if anything they may have overdone their internal control systems and overdone the amount of documentation just to make absolutely sure they're complying on top of that if you know your auditors are going to be checking in detail that's even more pressure to maybe go a bit too far many feel that sarbanes-oxley is too harsh in this area and there are concerns that American industry has seen its costs go up and its effectiveness go down as a result of having to spend so much time making sure they're complying with this so how is this internal controls audit for want of a better word different to the United Kingdom well under the combined code of course directors do need to make sure there is a sound system of internal controls and they need to confirm they have assessed the controls in their annual report but the difference is there is no need to actually present the results of that assessment in any great detail and equally there is no need for the auditors to go beyond their normal audit process on their financial statements and suggest any sort of comment on how well the directors have done it so the combined code has got something on controls but it's a lot less harsh than sarbanes-oxley some other points in sarbanes-oxley which are different to the UK's combined code in Britain loans from companies to their directors are generally illegal although there are some exceptions under sarbanes-oxley any loan from a company to one of its directors is against the rules unless that company is a bank and the loan is in the normal course of business as well as bank loans another example of difference is in auditors in the United Kingdom your external auditors are generally allowed to perform other services on top of the audit as long as independence is not breached so generally speaking most other services are allowable if suit safeguards are put in place under sarbanes-oxley there is a relatively long list of services which are banned if you're doing the external audit as a result in America many firms of external auditors do the external audit and nothing else one other area where sarbanes-oxley is different to the combined code is probably a good thing under sarbanes-oxley there is greater protection for whistleblowers what or who is a whistleblower well OS will blower strangely enough is someone who blows the whistle not in a tangible sense but blows the whistle in terms of spotting something in a company that they don't like the look of and reporting it either inside the company or maybe outside in the hope that this problem is dealt with so for example with both Enron and world comm someone inside those companies realizing that things were happening that didn't look right or different didn't look legal try to report it to get it sorted now of course if you report a problem inside a company and the person who's causing this problem finds out it's you your life could be made a misery in world comm for example Cynthia Cooper discovered what she thought were some extremely questionable accounting practices basically the main issue with WorldCom was the amount of expenses that was being capitalized and hidden on the balance sheet or statements of financial position thus increasing that year's profits when she complained about this the person who was doing it ignored her concerns thankfully she went further and told the Audit Committee and the Audit Committee tried to sort it out this resulted in WorldCom's accounts being restated by several billion dollars and welcome ended up filing for bankruptcy but it takes a lot of bravery for someone to report potentially their own boss for behavior which might be questionable so sarbanes-oxley tries to issue some protection to try to encourage people to be brave and make the reports other countries have similar things in their codes of corporate governance as well whereas in Britain there is really not much in the combined code to help you having said that reports recently suggest that the whistleblowing procedures in sarbanes-oxley have not actually helped at all and if anything whistleblowing is going down because more and more whistleblowers are not being protected so clearly this is an area which needs a bit of a rethink now apart from what we've looked at sarbanes-oxley is relatively similar to the combined code and most of the areas covered are therefore basically the same so just be aware that the main differences are sarbanes-oxley is law it is tougher on directors especially the CEO and CFO in terms of the accuracy of the accounts and it is extremely tough on internal control systems as we've seen what we now need to do is compare the law based sarbanes-oxley with the principles based combined code of the UK and look at the positives and negatives of each so sarbanes-oxley is a legal based system America's chosen law in the United Kingdom combined code is a principles based system what are the features of the two systems and which system might be best well let's first take a look at a legal based system of course if you have a system based on law then as long as the law is good enough the quality of the law should provide assurance to shareholders and stakeholders in general that the system is working and of course being law non-compliance can be punished by removing the company from the stock exchange or maybe just fining them or in extreme circumstances potentially imprisoning directors the problem of course with law is that it lacks flexibility and also as America seems to have experienced in making it law and making it so high punishment if you don't comply there is a danger that companies overdo their corporate governance and therefore potentially suffer in terms of business performance what about a principles-based approach well a principles-based approach is more flexible it means that companies of different size culture or maybe companies at different stages of development like newer companies can comply with those things that are sensible and explain away those things that don't really apply to them as I've said before there is a danger that companies might use poor excuses not to comply but at the moment because you are judged by your investors generally speaking companies are complying or they seem to have reasonable explanations as to why not it is generally felt that a principles-based approach is stronger than a laws based approach because we'd rather companies complied with the spirit of good governance rather than simply ticking boxes and there have even been some comments from America that maybe their law based system would be better if it was altered to a more principles based system maybe now that the point has been made after Enron that corporate governance is very important the fact that it's law in America may be less important so there we go laws versus principles if you were a developing country and you had no corporate governance code at the moment what might be better for you copy the UK's combined code or copy sarbanes-oxley well if you're looking for a starting point I suspect the combined code isn't easy a place to be because it's principles-based nature means that you could use those bits that you want to use and explain away those that you don't sarbanes-oxley is probably not that helpful for those countries which are in an early stage of economic development because it is so detailed and so harsh let's note down laws versus principles so laws based versus principles based an opportunity to compare the American system and the British system and likely to be a key exam topic on many sittings