August 24, 2019
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How Davy Crockett became an American legend


“Davy! Davy Crockett.”
Hey.
Hello hello, what’s going on? Do you have
the package?
All right, all right, have you opened it yet? No should I do that now?
Wait one second.
Dang it, I’ve been waiting like a week.
Before we open the package, let’s
introduce who we are. I’m Phil Edwards.
Coleman Lowndes.
This is History Club, where 50% of us
know what we’re talking about.
Where we roll ideas over in their grave.
You could tell the other guy ain’t want no damn catchphrase, lmao.
Yeah I’m a bad liar. OK so
thank you first of all to Jose Padrino
Megan Long and Martin from Vegas for
these catchphrases, we’ll never speak of
this again.
Can I open this? I really wanna open this.
You can’t open it yet.
I just want to explain what we do here.
On this show each, time one of us tells
the story and the other person has no
idea what’s gonna happen. And this time
that’s you, you’re the person who has no
idea. And I just want to clarify based on
the comments from last time – got a lot of
people saying, “Ah what a fake
conversation all this.” No, this is real.
The idea that we could even try to act
is actually a compliment, so thank you.
Go ahead, it is time, open up the package.
Okay. Oh it’s a wig? Oh it’s a raccoon hat!
Are we talking about David Crockett?
Ding Ding Ding.
Yes!
Wow I’m keeping this by the way, this is a gift.
I love it.
Yeah.
Thank you.
I feel like that’s definitely
like just like rat hair and asbestos.
In a lot of ways he was kind of the
first celebrity politician, and the way
that he became this legend and
politician is really complicated. So
that’s what we’re gonna talk about today.
Fun!
That is from the Disney movie and
television series about Davy Crockett,
and he was like a baby boomer phenomenon
in the 1950s. I want to show you one
picture too, this is a woman who was just
making all the coonskin caps well over a
hundred years after he died. These shows
and movies, they actually changed the
price of raccoon pelts like the one that
lady is working on from 25 cents a pound
to $6 a pound.
Wow.
You know, in 1960 John
Wayne played him in the movie “The Alamo” and he was actually a really big
celebrity when he was alive. This play
here is reprinted and it’s The Lion of
the West. The play was so famous while
Davy was alive and in Congress that he
even went on Broadway and saw Nimrod
Wildfire playing, basically, Davy Crockett
in this show.
You don’t really think of
people gaining celebrity in that time period at all.
That kind of opens up this
question of like how did he get there,
how did that happen, how did he become
this big celebrity?
Is that map on screen now?
Yep.
So Tennessee is literally the
edge of the map, people did not think of
him as much as a southerner as they
thought of him as a westerner.
He’s way out there.
I’m gonna read a little from
his autobiography. I’ll just read you
like a little quote: “At so advanced an
age, the age of 15 I did not know the
letter of the book.” He didn’t know how to
read by the time he was 15. He tells a
story in the book of how he ran away
from home from 12 to 15 just because it
was like … super fun.
Yeah.
It’s these political tall tales
interspersed with how awesome he is at
hunting bears.
David Crockett is not just
a hunter and frontiersman, he’s this
political guy too. In 1825, he runs for
the House of Representatives, but he
loses the first time. And then in 1827 he
runs again and he wins. So bear hunting,
raccoon-killing David Crockett is in
Congress.
Nice.
David’s big issue is land
rights for the people who he represents.
So a lot of the people that he
represents are squatters.
They find a
patch of land that nobody cares about,
they develop it, they maybe cut down some
trees or they build a house, and David
wants to fight for them to have the
right to either get that land, or
purchase it at a reasonable price.
That’s his big issue he’s in the House of
Representatives but we’re not at this,
like, legend status yet, and that is where
my second prop comes in.
Should I put my
hat back on or wait?
Yeah, sure put your hat back on.
Great.
Ok, now that you have
your hat back on I will reveal prop
number 2, which is this guy.
See I was
thinking about Andrew Jackson this whole time,
also Tennessee, celebrity politician,
folksy man-of-the-people,
big personality.
Yeah you’re dead-on man,
you’re dead on.
I mean Jackson is like
the Mario to David Crockett’s Luigi.
David would hate to hear that.
Can you just tell me a little more about like what
you know about Andrew Jackson?
The night he got elected, he threw a huge party at the White House, and everyone like
notoriously just got absolutely wasted
and people were like falling out of
windows and just like totally trashing
the place
Jackson is from Middle Tennessee which
is a little bit richer so he’s on a
plantation and then Crockett — they’re
from this frontier — they are poorer. You
know I should mention that throughout
his life there were periods when David
Crockett owned slaves too.
And so David does end up in the House of
Representatives
while Jackson’s in the presidency. So
David’s big issue is that land bill and
Jackson never helps him on it and then
they fall out at some point. A lot of
historians point to the Indian Removal
Act, which is the Trail of Tears. So
that’s the forced removal of Indian
populations. David Crockett actually
publicly opposed that. Where’s my prop?
Okay. So, right here: paper money that Andrew Jackson is on. He hated paper money.
He wanted people to be carrying around
gold and silver. The Second Bank of the
United States issued the paper money and so they were gearing up to renew their
charter. Jackson did anything that he
could to take out the bank, including
using the veto power more aggressively
than anybody else. I’ll show you a
classically awful political cartoon.
I was gonna ask if it has a ton of very
tiny illegible scribbling.
All those people on the hydra, they are part of the
coalition that forms a party in the
1830s, which is the Whigs.
And so Jackson
starts making this his signature issue,
and that’s where we come back to Davy
Crockett.
At this point he hates Andrew
Jackson,
he’s like, “Andrew Jackson is a tyrant,
he’s a bad guy.”
Suddenly Andrew Jackson has these
enemies in the Whigs. So they are not the
most obvious allies to David Crockett. At
the same time they are the enemies of
his enemy, and so he becomes their friend.
The whigs had this like superstar brand
to work with.
I don’t know if you
remember that play that I brought up in
the beginning. Who does this look like to
you?
Davy Crockett.
This is actually James Hackett, who is the actor who
played Nimrod Wildfire in the play “The
Lion of the West.” As far as we know like
patient zero for the coonskin cap is
this actor playing David Crockett in a
play. Crockett ends up making this
alliance. He ends up turning into a pawn
in this central banking war over the
Second Bank of the United States. They
might have wanted him to run for
president,
possibly they wanted David Crockett to
just be an attack dog. I think he totally
just got suckered, he got sweet-talked by
some guys.
That’s what it sounds like to me.
They were like, here have
some whiskey Dave.
Yeah Dave.
Let me tell you what man, you could be President.
AJ sucks, Dave. We can take him down
together my guy.
I mean we
don’t know that, that’s
what I believe, I mean.
I think that
sounds right, I think that’s the simplest
explanation.
David’s biography comes out in 1834. He
starts leaning into the myth. This is a
portrait in 1834 of David Crockett that
he was able to kind of art direct.
He’s wearing a buckskin outfit. His hat is
meant to be a more man-of-the-people
type hat. He even chose the types of dogs
because they were more homely hunting
dogs rather than the kind of stately
dogs that were typically in portraits at
the time.
Totally.
By all reports like the Whigs are the ones who push him to write
his own biography and then after that
they go even further. They actually sponsor a book tour all around the Northeast to give speeches
against Andrew Jackson. There are other
books that come out and they actually ghost
write some of those books.
Davey’s rising up with the Whigs in tandem
and then they lose.
Andrew Jackson wins and when the bank
gets squashed, David Crockett gets
squashed too. David Crockett loses his
congressional seat. After that, he runs
away. He goes out to Texas and just a year
after he’s out of Congress, in 1836 he’s
dead at the Alamo, executed after being
captured.
Oh good, you’re wearing the cap.
Oh yeah, no 100 percent.
It’s really itchy.
In 1956, those Coonskin caps were selling
at 5,000 a day.
Actually yeah.
Why do you think he became so famous like a
century after he died?
A lot of the pictures I’m gonna show in this video
come from Davy Crockett Almanacs. In the
1870s there was a play by a guy named
Frank Mayo that was all about Davy
Crockett. The myth trickled along a
little bit longer, and then Walt Disney
is trying to figure out themes for this
new park that he’s building that’s
called Disneyland. He has different
worlds that he wants to include in it —
he’s got Tomorrowland and he also has
Frontierland and reportedly he just
sends people to the archives and they
come back with Davy Crockett.
Growing up, I don’t really know much about Davy
Crockett other than the coonskin cap and
he’s like an American frontiersman and a
cartoonishly American icon.
I think it’s
so interesting that we’ll never know
what really motivated him, you know,
whether it was such purity that made him
cross over the Whigs because he really
believed that Andrew Jackson was doing
the wrong thing, or if he was just
playing this game to try to get ahead
and then why was he trying to get ahead
maybe it was to help his constituents, but
maybe it was still like have the sweet
life of being president, and we just
don’t know what’s true about his heroism.
There is more to David Crockett’s legacy
than just a hat.
In 1841, David Crockett’s
son went to Congress, he got elected, and
he went to Congress on behalf of his
late father and a version of the land
bill finally got passed. So he did
accomplish something in the legislature
in addition to making this permanent
imprint on our culture.
I was trying to
think of how we can involve the
commenters on the next episode and I
have, I’ve made the decision that on the
next episode where I am the person
researching and writing it, I’m gonna ask
the people in the comments to choose the
next continent that I will pick a story
from. That is my challenge to you, pick
the continent that I’ll draw the next
story from for my end of History Club.

Randall Smitham

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100 COMMENTS

  1. Khafleim Posted on August 9, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Now I just need to understand how his name got attached to a nuclear weapon

    Reply
  2. Perrine Carpentier Posted on August 9, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Africa please.

    Reply
  3. Federico Aikawa Posted on August 9, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Hey! South America and José de San Martín. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Vaughan Mayberry Posted on August 9, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Nice to hear some fleshing out of this bit of history. Even Australians of my era grew up with the Davy Crockett legend via American TV shows. ( a little critique – from my humble experience in entertainment : – a little too much peripheral fluff guys. ).

    Reply
  5. Alex Bryan Posted on August 9, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Africa for sure

    Reply
  6. john hand Posted on August 9, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    jolly ol' Mr Crockett

    Reply
  7. Murtaza Bijani Posted on August 9, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    Pro tip: face wash and oil-blotting paper is your friend.

    Reply
  8. Murtaza Bijani Posted on August 9, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Jackson as a ‘Man of the People’ ? – you mean ‘Man of the WHITE People’, right?

    Reply
  9. AussieTV Posted on August 9, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Do the Emu war in Australia.

    Reply
  10. Dan Herrick Posted on August 9, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    why do you guys mic the packaging sounds?

    Reply
  11. boondoc001 Posted on August 9, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Oh snap he died on my bday

    Reply
  12. philosophicalreason Posted on August 9, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    How about Nauru,or Brunei may as well make it interesting why do continents everyone knows lol.

    Reply
  13. Milton Roa Posted on August 9, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Australia, mate

    Reply
  14. Lord BossaNova Posted on August 9, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    antartica

    Reply
  15. Austin LeClere Posted on August 9, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    I would love a video on Africa or Australia.

    Reply
  16. Robin Toonen Posted on August 9, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    May be try an Iranian story, they have some of the greatest epics. How about Michiel de Ruyter sailed up the Thames sacked the british navy and got away with the their flagship. Or just do the father of Europe better known as Charles the great like one of the greatest medival epics of Europe.

    Reply
  17. theomen49 Posted on August 9, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Africa or oceana

    Reply
  18. Nathaniel C. Polley Posted on August 9, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Asia!

    Reply
  19. Berlín Zimbron Posted on August 9, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    South Africa and the Boer War

    Reply
  20. Sierra Grace Posted on August 9, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    I want one from Antartica please and thank you!

    Reply
  21. Aashish Venkatesh Posted on August 9, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Africa

    Reply
  22. Chris Moeller Posted on August 9, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Well, good on him for opposing Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson was one of our worst presidents.

    Reply
  23. Andrea Gilly Posted on August 9, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    Latin America

    Reply
  24. Jeffrey Hsu Posted on August 10, 2019 at 12:04 am

    Hey Phil – Asia!!!

    Reply
  25. Joshua Wheeler Posted on August 10, 2019 at 12:18 am

    I don't like the form of this video

    Reply
  26. GizmoMaltese Posted on August 10, 2019 at 12:46 am

    I thought we would hear more about how American squatters stole Mexican land.

    Reply
  27. TobiasJLogan Posted on August 10, 2019 at 12:56 am

    You should do an episode on Scandinavia or Northern Europe. Iceland, Scotland, Norway, all have very deep interesting histories 🙂

    Reply
  28. Olivia Cecil Posted on August 10, 2019 at 2:28 am

    Australia!!!! The great emu war!

    Reply
  29. Ezekiel Graeme Posted on August 10, 2019 at 2:54 am

    So is anyone going to mention that you blatantly ripped off The Dollop?

    Reply
  30. nate3eleven Posted on August 10, 2019 at 5:34 am

    You should do Argentina’s lost children

    Reply
  31. Thomas Lloyd Posted on August 10, 2019 at 8:46 am

    How about the supercontinent of Pangaea?

    Reply
  32. Foluke O. Posted on August 10, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Africa, please

    Reply
  33. NewYorkSkyBreakfast Posted on August 10, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Australasia aka Oceania specifically Maori

    Reply
  34. Chipmunk Wizard Posted on August 10, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    It has to be asia!!!!!

    Reply
  35. Narjie La Mangue Posted on August 10, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    Soundiata, from Mali

    Reply
  36. Queen Of Northern Europe Posted on August 10, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    South America

    Reply
  37. Rehan M Posted on August 10, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    CAN YOU ALSO MAKE A DETAILED VIDEO ABOUT RECENT ISSUE OF KASHMIR IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN? IT WOULD BE GREAT TO KNOW YOUR UNDERSTANDING ON THIS ISSUE.

    Reply
  38. Juan Felipe Herrera Posted on August 10, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    SOUTH AMERICAAAAAA

    (not a continent itself, but it's got plenty of good interesting stories)

    Reply
  39. Sean Deignan Posted on August 10, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    I choose the continent of Middle-Earth, or Ennor in the Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin.

    Reply
  40. vapid rabbit Posted on August 10, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    paper money just makes more sense… with the fluctuating values of precious metals, cashiers would be forced to go back to the medieval practice of clipping off pieces of coins, and weighing them…

    Reply
  41. Vincent Chavez Jr Posted on August 10, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    MEXICO!

    Reply
  42. Raafee Khan Posted on August 10, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    Do history on USA Canada ! The French indian war and the first qubecua and the metis people!

    Reply
  43. Aggro Morality Posted on August 10, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    We can all agree that native Americans got what was coming to them

    Reply
  44. Kevin Herman Posted on August 11, 2019 at 1:12 am

    Antarctica – The first voyage.

    Reply
  45. isak marken Posted on August 11, 2019 at 9:32 am

    im sorry but this video is a mess

    Reply
  46. Rohan Sharma Posted on August 11, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Take a page from the Mughal Empire in india. (1526 – 1857)

    Reply
  47. Dark Soul Posted on August 11, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    I've always thought he was nothing but a story … I.e. not an actual dude.
    Ps. I'm not American.

    Reply
  48. Dark Soul Posted on August 11, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Love your club guys! But sincerely!
    I thought I knew something about D.C. … after watching you this time … I just felt dizzy!! Not really sure about what I've learnt and what I lost forever!! 😒😒

    Reply
  49. Dark Soul Posted on August 11, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    What about Africa?

    Reply
  50. alan ra Posted on August 11, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    The truth about 5 de mayo (México)

    Or the plaza de mayo grandmothers (Argentina)

    Reply
  51. franz kindel Posted on August 11, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Your videos are awesome. TY guys!!!

    Reply
  52. Rayhaan muaz Posted on August 11, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Colonization in africa

    Reply
  53. Ramon Gonzalez Perez Posted on August 11, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    Oceania

    Reply
  54. Timothy White Posted on August 11, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Never heard of him

    Reply
  55. The Valley Mountain Band Posted on August 11, 2019 at 9:57 pm

    Australia

    Reply
  56. Gregor Ethan R. Posadas Posted on August 11, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    Could you do Asia! Specifically Southeastern Asia during the age of American Imperialism. I think it'd be interesting to tell since it involves the U.S's start on the path to becoming a superpower.

    Reply
  57. Fuxser Posted on August 12, 2019 at 12:38 am

    Europe! Prefferebly Scandinavia or Norway!

    Reply
  58. FedoraMiaza Posted on August 12, 2019 at 3:05 am

    Hey Vox!
    Can we please have a schedule from you for the different series you upload (Ex. Darkroom every X day or Almanac every Y day). Thankyou!

    Btw, love your videos.

    Reply
  59. Yash Ke Posted on August 12, 2019 at 3:58 am

    Africa is the birthplace of humankind and Vox is always about America…

    Reply
  60. Louis Avden Posted on August 12, 2019 at 5:15 am

    That Marvel vid tho

    Reply
  61. Gabe Katzman Posted on August 12, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Middle East!!!

    Reply
  62. Rahat Alam Posted on August 12, 2019 at 7:02 am

    Focus on things in Ancient Persia or India; so many great personalities and events to explore

    Reply
  63. The EfX Posted on August 12, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Even if you guys says it staged. The content of the videos still very awesome. Get smarter every day 🙂

    Reply
  64. Chris Stricker Posted on August 12, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Australia

    Reply
  65. Kelsey Prud'homme Posted on August 12, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I bless the rains down in Africa

    Reply
  66. Kiritu George Posted on August 12, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Africa. Do Sundiata Keita please or basically any legendary African figure from history.

    Reply
  67. Beatríz Miroslava Sandoval Ramos Posted on August 12, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    southamerica

    Reply
  68. Dr Rubaba Posted on August 12, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Asia or Africa please

    Reply
  69. J Goetz Posted on August 12, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    VOX is for the Alt-Right.

    Reply
  70. Hajri Iljazi Posted on August 12, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Me be ne izdajamo poznate znam pravice lep ti znaša na drin

    Reply
  71. Captain Nemo Posted on August 12, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    Remember the snakes

    Reply
  72. Andrea Repetto Posted on August 12, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    I'm Peruvian, so I vote for South America, but Africa also doesn't get enough love, so either of those would make me happy! Thanks, love the vids!!

    Reply
  73. Swailly Posted on August 13, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Do something from Africa, tell people why the british wanted to dry out Egypt by cutting the source of the Nile.

    Reply
  74. Magnus Muir Posted on August 13, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Please do some Aboriginal Australian history!

    Reply
  75. Krabsy Posted on August 13, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    This is very much like the Dollop Podcast.

    Reply
  76. Mauricio A. Román Posted on August 13, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    1st Africa, 2nd S. America, and 3rd Asia (South)

    Reply
  77. Chandler Bules Posted on August 13, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    South America!

    Reply
  78. Trooper 1139 Posted on August 14, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Texan legend nothing American about a Texan hero

    Reply
  79. Rose Bud Posted on August 14, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Too long to get to the point. I left.

    Reply
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