GLENN: Welcome back to the program, Mike Lee, senator from Utah is with us. He's got a new book. A book that everybody should have on their shelf, especially if you are looking to teach your kids American history. This is written out of history by Mike Lee. These are all the heroes of the American Revolution that had been written out of history because it just didn't jive with what the story everybody wants to tell. Where do you want to start?
MIKE: You know, my interest in writing this book came about in part as a result of my work on my last book, called Our Last Constitution. I told some stories about. The formation of the republic. It came out about the same time as this certain Broadway play, a certain Broadway play that kind of lit a match with some very dry tinder.
GLENN: Hamilton. Have you seen it?
MIKE: Hamilton, exactly.
I haven't seen it. I know the soundtrack well. I've listened to it over and over again. I hope to see it at some point. But have not been able to get in so far.
That kindled something in the American people. It got them excited. It made them realize, "There is a lot to learn from our founding generation. And if we study our founding generation, we can discover some things about ourself."
GLENN: So what did you discover about us?
MIKE: What I discovered about us is that we didn't start out the way a lot of people assume we started out.
GLENN: Wait. Rich, white people that are just interested in slavery and business?
MIKE: That's the narrative. That's the narrative. Those were the only people. Everyone else in America was silent or silenced. Had nothing to say. No contribution to make to public discourse.
And in this book, I outline the stories of a number of Americans, who were neither rich nor white nor male, in some cases. People who made a profound contribution to the early days of the American republic.
But their narrative, their story didn't fit with our modern narrative of what happened at the American founding.
GLENN: Give me -- give me a couple of your favorite examples.
MIKE: Mum Bett. Mum Bett was a slave in early America in Massachusetts. She discovered that with the revolution and with the Massachusetts state constitution, as it came out, guaranteed individuals with certain rights, that all men -- and including women -- were protected by these rights. And she fought for and won her slavery in court, as a result of that.
She made an early contribution to the abolition movement in America. The -- the discussion of slavery was not just something that sort of bubbled up around or in the immediate lead-in to the Civil War. This was something that was actively debated and discussed at the time of the Revolution.
PAT: What year was this?
MIKE: This was in the late 1700s. So about the time we became our own country, but --
MIKE: -- long before -- long before anything close to the Civil War happened. So as a result of that, she fought for and won her freedom. She had a very significant role in -- and an understanding in this country that we as individuals have certain rights given to us by God. But she was a black woman. She was a black woman who won her freedom. She didn't fit that narrative. She's been written out of history.
GLENN: When did you find -- was she ever prominent in history in America? Did we ever learn about her? Or had she always been written out?
MIKE: There was times when she was well-known. She was relatively known at the time of the revolution. And she continued to be well-known throughout the abolition effort. But overtime, her memory faded because people assumed, you know, we got a lot of rich white guys to talk about. That's all we're going to talk about.
GLENN: We also have this belief -- and it's so wrong, that women didn't -- they didn't have the vote. That's not exactly right. You had to own property. So if -- if you were a woman and your husband died and you had property, you got the vote. And it was more of a family kind of vote. It wasn't against a woman. It was about, who is the owner of property, correct?
GLENN: And a lot of women played a very important role in the American founding.
MIKE: Including Mercy Otis Warren, another American who was very prominent at the time of the revolution, but who we've written out. Who has been forgotten.
She was well educated. She was an author. She was constantly involved in public discourse. She had some grave concerns about what our federal government might become under the new Constitution.
She was good friends with John Adams, but it became a sort of love/hate relationship. They had this back-and-forth exchange of letters, over the course of many years, in which she would raise concerns about the new government. And these discussions became increasingly heated.
She ended up having a real voice in speaking out for freedom, speaking out about the fact that, you know, when government acts, it does so at the expense of individual liberty. We have to constrain government power. But that too conflicts with the modern narrative.
So what I'm trying to do in assembling these stories is remember some of the comments that I received in connection with my last book.
On Our Last Constitution, I've gone through and read the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. Over and over and over again, some different themes developed. People would say, in that story -- these are great stories, but these are stories I've never heard. These are stories that are not discussed in civics class or in history class, even in AP or college-level history classes. Some of these stories have been left out.
So I've tried in this book, Written Out of History, to find more of those stories. More of the people who contributed to our founding.
GLENN: You could go to George Washington University now and study history, and you don't to have take more than one semester of American history. So there's a good chance that you go to George Washington University, and you're never taught about George Washington. I mean, we're leaving George Washington out of our history now.
MIKE: And my guess is, Glenn, if you did study George Washington, it might not be the more noble aspects of George Washington's life that would be first discovered.
PAT: Well, he was a rich, white slave owner.
MIKE: He was indeed that. He was indeed that. He was also many other things.
PAT: Yeah, he was a guy with white privilege. We didn't establish that, but that's for sure. Right? White privilege.
GLENN: Thank you, Pat. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
MIKE: And with respect to George Washington, one of my favorite things to show people on the capitol is the portrait -- one of the many paintings that hangs in the capitol rotunda is one of George Washington surrendering his commission to the Continental Congress after winning the Revolutionary War. It sends chills down my spine every time I see it, every time I think about it, every time I talk about it.
The fact that --
GLENN: You don't have to name him. But do you see anyone that is or could be the next George Washington?
MIKE: Oh, sure. Look, I see a lot of people who have liberty in their veins, who long for liberty, who yearn for it.
Anybody who yearns for liberty has the ability to be that person.
MIKE: And all they have to do is speak about it. Do something about it. Talk about it. Push back against the narrative that says that anything we do that's important has to be through government. And anything we do through government that's important must be done through the federal government and never through states and localities. Push back against that narrative, and you will help restore the spirit of America's founding.
GLENN: You talk about George Mason -- you tell the story of George Mason as being kind of a forgotten founder. Tell the story that you have in the book.
MIKE: George Mason was a remarkable human being. He was a reluctant statesman. One who was a man of business. He just wanted to live his own life, without undue interference. He got involved in government. He ended up going to the constitutional convention. He ended up having some grave concerns with the Constitution, which he ultimately couldn't support, in part because he could see that the powers created by it would one day be abused. That's one of the things that we have to remember and one of the understandings we have to restore in this country.
We talk a lot in our US history courses in school about the Federalists, about the fact that those pushing the Constitution pointed out that there were all these protections in place. We don't talk as much about the anti-Federalists. Those who warned about how this government power could be abused. Those who understood that based on human nature, human beings are by nature redeemable, but flawed. And when they get power, they tend to abuse it, unless that power is kept in check.
George Mason was one who really understood that. And he fought hard to make sure that his fellow beings, his fellow patriots would be protected. And he didn't want them to be subjects --
GLENN: Wasn't he against the Constitution as written?
GLENN: But didn't he help -- he helped write it, didn't he?
MIKE: Yes. Yes. One of his -- he was very concerned that unless it outlined more areas that were out of bounds for the government. Unless there were more protections, like those ultimately provided through the Bill of Rights, for example.
GLENN: And those weren't included at the beginning. In fact, every state voted against them.
MIKE: Those were not included at the beginning. But the Bill of Rights came about in part because of the efforts of men like George Mason, who said, "We've got to constrain this government. We've got to identify a number of things that government just cannot do. Otherwise, government will do those things because people will come forward and say, look, this is important. Therefore, it must be done. And it must be done in the most efficient manner possible."
GLENN: Mike, I was talking to somebody the other day, and I said, "With the exception of maybe a couple -- you know, like the vice president or removal of office of the president and the taxes and prohibition, pretty much everything else in there, past the first ten, I feel like are covered by the first ten. And it's just Congress going, no, dummy, what part didn't you understand? Black people are men who are born to be free. Women are -- you know, when we said men, we meant everybody. Men, women. We meant everybody." And so it's just a reiteration of the first ten because they're so well written.
MIKE: In many respects, yes. And that's one of the things I love about the first ten amendments is they're written so carefully, elegantly, and with this simplicity that allows them to stand the test of time.
Except for the quartering of soldiers. I mean, that's the only one. That's the only one --
MIKE: Hey, you never know when that might come in handy.
GLENN: I know.
MIKE: The day may come, Glenn, when you might --
GLENN: What do you think of the idea that in some ways, they have quartered soldiers in our home through NSA being able to listen and snoop and -- and record everything that we have. Our government is in our home all the time.
MIKE: Yes. And in that respect, I've got several chapters in my book that would interest you about that issue. James Otis, for example, would have been very concerned about that.
He pushed back on the abuse of writs of assistance, which were these roving warrants, roving commissions that could be used by the king's officers, to kick down doors, to go after any contraband goods. Pursuant to efforts to enforce laws that were themselves put in place to protect British subjects in America from counterfeit non-British approved goods.
This is not really a quartering of troops problem that you're describing. It's a Fourth Amendment problem.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, in their papers, in their homes, from unreasonable intrusive searches and seizures is what protects us, both in letter and in spirit, from the NSA undertaking surveillance on the American people without a warrant.
GLENN: It amazes me, there was a new study out that shows that I think it's 49 percent of conservative millennials say that freedom of speech, freedom of religion, yada, yada, it's all absolute, except the government has to decide what speech is okay.
Forty-nine percent of conservatives think the government has to put limits on speech and press and everything else.
MIKE: Yeah. And if you understand freedom of speech that way, what you're really saying is, "There's no such thing as freedom of speech." That's what freedom of speech is there for, is to say, "Government must stay out."
GLENN: Mike Lee, he'll be joining me soon on the television program at 5 o'clock. TheBlaze. You don't want to miss that. Mike Lee, the author of the book Written Out of History: The Forgotten Fathers Who Fought Big Government. Written Out of History. Something that should be on everybody's bookshelf. If you're trying to teach history to your kids, it's a great read. Easy to read. And stories you've never heard before. Written Out of History by Mike Lee. It's available everywhere now.