The Wit of Samuel Johnson

Lead: Born in poverty in 1709, Samuel Johnson became England's premier eighteenth-century man of letters and was the author of the first great dictionary of the English language.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The son of a bookseller, Johnson early on developed a healthy appetite for reading but he was not a willing convert to scholarship. He later attributed his commanding knowledge of Latin to the severe beatings he received at the hand of his master at Litchfield grammar school. Johnson spent thirteen months at Pembroke College, Oxford but had to leave because the money ran out. Back in Litchfield he attempted to start a school of his own, which failed, and he acquired a wife, Tetty Porter, a widow twenty years his senior. Their stormy years together became the source of his many clever observations on married life, such as this one, "if marriage is a struggle against the odds, remarriage is the triumph of hope over experience."

 

A House Divided: Emancipation Strategy IV

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As the Civil War deepened and as the blood and sacrifice on both sides became more profound, Abraham Lincoln began seeking an edge to improve the Union’s chances of prevailing. After a stream of good news from the West earlier in the year, by summer 1862 Union military fortunes had fallen on hard times. Lincoln began to consider striking a powerful economic and, as it turned out, military blow against the rebels. He had begun to formulate an Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln started looking for the opportune moment to issue it, meaning he needed a Union victory so as to insure that such a revolutionary and precipitous move might not seem to be an act of desperation.

A House Divided: Emancipation Strategy III

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Southerners were determined to preserve slavery and willing to fight for the independence that would insure that institution’s continuance. Northern Democrats supported the Union but were split between those who favored the war to force the South to give up its quest for independence and those who wished to treat with the South to effect a voluntary restoration of national unity. Yet, both War and Peace Democrats were absolutely opposed to any notion of interfering with slavery. They were united in their desire to preserve a white America and rejected abolition in any form.

 

A House Divided: Emancipation Strategy II

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: American political parties are essentially coalitions with a variety of opinions and social and economic impulses gathered under a single political tent organized to recruit, fund, and elect candidates for office at various levels. The bigger the tent, so the theory goes, the greater the party’s success.

 

 

A House Divided: Emancipation Strategy I

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When the Civil War began there was a decided difference in its perceived purpose North and South. The Confederacy desired its independence primarily so that it might preserve its way of life, most particularly the institution of slavery. Southerners were quite clear. The Yankees could let them go out of the Union without a fight, but they would indeed fight if pressed, and their purpose was to maintain slavery. The Southern constitution expressly protects the institution of slavery and the ownership of slaves. Though a minority of Southerners actually owned slaves, the Confederate enterprise, its economy, its society, and its military initiatives and strategy were all designed to preserve that peculiar institution. Asserting states’ rights was the South’s clarion intellectual formulation, but the region departed the Union because it clearly saw that with every passing year American society was become more and more hostile to the state’s rights in maintaining slavery. 

 

First Ladies: Betty Ford

Lead: After the dark days of Watergate and White House scandal, the nation needed a lift. It found one in the person of one of the most popular and refreshing of its First Ladies, Betty Ford.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: On the way to the helicopter taking the Nixons into exile in August 1974, Pat Nixon warned her successor that she would grow to hate the red carpets that attended life in the White House. Betty Ford never did. She was one of the most interesting and bracing First Ladies whose friendliness, candor and outspoken honesty became a lighting rod for carping critics, but gained her a level of popularity rare among the long line of Presidential ladies.

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First Ladies: Grace Coolidge

Lead: Few couples who occupied the White House have been as dissimilar as the thirtieth President of the United States and his gracious, ebullient, popular First Lady, Grace Coolidge.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The first time Grace Goodhue saw Calvin Coolidge, he was in his underwear. She was watering flowers, glanced at the house next door and saw the 32 year old lawyer, standing in his union suit, with a brown derby on his head, busily shaving. She burst out laughing but when he looked up she turned away in embarrassment. The encounter, however, was enough for Cal, he contrived an introduction and pursued her with great intensity.

 

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President Grover Cleveland Under the Knife

Lead: In the summer of 1893, with the country in a financial panic, President Grover Cleveland underwent a secret cancer operation.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As both Governor of New York and President, Cleveland had a reputation as a corruption fighter and political independent. He was the only United States President elected to two nonconsecutive terms in 1884 and then again in 1892 and the first Democrat in the White House since James Buchanan in 1856. Under the President who served between Cleveland's terms, Benjamin Harrison, Congress had passed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Western farmers were in favor of this believing that with more money in circulation, loans would be cheaper and life easier for the average American. The problem was that the government had to buy silver with treasury gold causing reserves to drop below the $100,000,000 required by law. People panicked and began to demand gold in exchange for paper money. Banks failed in this the so-called Panic of 1893 and the country was thrown into a short but violent economic depression.