Democratic Convention of 1860 IV

Lead: The Democratic Party split at its meeting in 1860 and for a time the Southern port city of Charleston played host to two Conventions.

Tag: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The immediate cause of the division was the insistence of deep South states that the Party Platform must contain a slave code, guaranteeing that neither the Federal government nor territories that had not become states could interfere with slavery. If the code was missing, they were authorized to walk out of the Convention. The Platform Committee brought in two reports. The majority report included the slave code. The committee minority, allied with the front-runner, Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, produced a platform stating that the decision about slavery in the territories had to be made by the people who lived there. There was no slave code. Douglas knew that he could not be elected with the slave code. Northern states would have nothing to do with it.

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Democratic Convention of 1860 III

Lead: In the spring of 1860 the Democratic National Convention met in Charleston. It failed to achieve unity, compromise, or peace.

Tag: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: A case can be made that the Charleston convention was a picture of the Republic itself. The politics of the United States were becoming rigid. Compromise, the lubricant that keeps the engine of democracy in motion, was becoming almost impossible to achieve. As if sand had been thrown into its works the machinery of American civilization was being ground to a halt by slavery.

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Democratic Convention of 1860 II

Lead: In the Spring of 1860 the national Democratic Party Convention met in Charleston, South Carolina to nominate a candidate for President and Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois was the man to beat.

Tag: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Where Stephen A. Douglas was concerned, few persons held a neutral opinion. He was said to be a passionate man who evoked passion in others, in his friends and in his enemies. His people had set up their headquarters in the Hibernian Hall not far from the Battery, where ancient twisted live oaks dripping with Spanish moss as if from another and more leisurely place and time greeted the frantic visitors from North and West who came seeking compromise in an era of impatience and incivility. Douglas had a majority but his problem was that the Democrats demanded that he secure two-thirds of the votes to carry the nomination.

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Democratic Convention of 1860 I

Lead: In the spring of 1860 the tensions of a nation that was losing patience with itself focused on the quiet port city of Charleston, South Carolina.

Tag: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: A compact and muscular man, with a square-built head and face, and an intense gaze, William Lowndes Yancey of Alabama seemed an unlikely candidate to provoke a revolution. The Democratic Party was gathering in Charleston to nominate a candidate for President. In that late April from all over the nation delegates were meeting to try and find some safe ground of compromise that might set at bay the forces of extremism that seemed bent on tearing the Party and the nation to pieces. Compromise. Yancey would have none of it. If he got his way the Democratic Party would be split and the resulting Republican victory would compel the cotton states of the South out of the Union.

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Mayflower Compact III

Lead: In the movement toward representative government in the English and American experience there bumps in the road. Despite their intentions as expressed in the Mayflower Compact the Pilgrims’ settlement in Massachusetts did not lead to greater democracy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The main problem for the Pilgrims, the first of the puritan sects to immigrate to Massachusetts Bay after 1620, was that they needed the talents and participation of all who settled there. Originally the voters in town meetings and eventually the General Court of the colony were called freeman, but being a freeman carried important obligations. You had to show up at the annual meeting of the Court to vote. To miss this resulted in a heavy fine. As the colony spread out and distance became an issue, it became clear that many settlers could not or would become freeman. Anxious to hold the loyalty of all colonists, in 1638 The General Court voted to allow communities to elect representatives or deputies to conduct the business of the colony. Though only freemen could serve as deputies or colonial officials, all male colonials who had taken a loyalty oath and were head of a family could vote.

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Mayflower Compact II

Lead: The Mayflower Compact of 1620 committed the Pilgrims to a just and equal government in their new colony on Massachusetts Bay. Its roots can be traced in surprising directions, but its legacy probably did not lead to increased democracy.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the fascinating characteristics of democracy as it developed in England and the United States is that democratic institutions resist ideology and tend to promote consensus. Among the early proponents of freer representative government were religious ideologues such as the puritans. They championed the parliamentary cause in two civil wars against King Charles I in the 1640s and many fled to the colonies of Massachusetts Bay after 1620. Their purpose was to secure the right to worship as they chose and to create a godly commonwealth.

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Mayflower Compact I

Lead: One of the icons of American democracy is the Mayflower Compact, the Pilgrim’s signed commitment in November 1620 to justice and equality in local government. The chance to govern themselves and pursue their religious impulses was a long time coming.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When the tiny square-rigged Mayflower delivered its human cargo of 102 settlers out of their long, difficult Atlantic crossing into what would become the Cape Cod harbor of Provincetown in late 1620, the leaders of the expedition, later called Pilgrims, were nearing the end of a long sojourn. They were Separatists and represented a tiny radical outgrowth of the English puritan movement, an informal network mostly worshipping within the Church of England. Puritans were vigorous proponents of the doctrines articulated by John Calvin and wished to “purify” and remove all remaining vestiges of Roman Catholicism within the Anglican structure.

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Battle of Marathon II

Lead: The victory of the Greek forces at the Battle of Marathon helped set the course of western development.

Tag: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The ever-expanding Persian empire under Cyrus the Great, Darius and Xerxes came to a halt as it collided with the Greek city-states and their colonies on the Aegean Sea. A powerful invasion force landed at the Bay of Marathon, twenty miles northeast of Athens, in the fall of 490 BC. As was often the case, the democratic Athenians were busy arguing who would command their army even as the Persians were at the gates. Finally, one of the generals, Miltiades, persuaded Callimachus, a civil official, to break the impasse and vote to attack the Persians first. Apparently there was evidence that some Athenians were sympathetic with the invaders and if the City waited too long the seeds of betrayal would undermine its resistance.

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