Lincoln and Re-election

Lead: In 1864, with the country mired in a Civil War, the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln was by no means assured.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In retrospect, by the early months of 1864 it is possible to see the Confederacy as being on the ropes. Southern resources and troops were running out and the last great attempt at invasion had come to grief on the gentle slopes of Gettysburg the previous summer. But this was not apparent to a United States electorate weary of war and three years of sacrifice, and they were flirting with idea of dumping the incumbent. Whatever may have been the role played by Cabinet officials, military officers, or members of Congress, in the people's mind, the Chief Architect of the war to restore the Union was Abraham Lincoln. He was the object of praise in victory but in the winter of 1864, fairly or not, he was viewed by many as the author of stalemate. For that Lincoln was in political trouble.

 

 

Read more →

1924 Democratic Convention II

Lead: The American humorist, Will Rogers, said "The Democrats are the only known race of people that give a dinner and fight over it. No job is ever too small for them to split over." He surely must have been speaking of the 1924 Party Convention in New York.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By all rights the Democrats should have been hot prospects in the election of 1924. They had enjoyed impressive results in the congressional returns of 1922. The Republicans had been scarred by the scandals of the Harding administration and had as their candidate the competent but dull and uninspiring President Calvin Coolidge.

1924 Democratic Convention I

Lead: With the possibility of returning to power clearly at hand, the Democratic Party in 1924 went to New York City to pick a Presidential nominee. In 14 hot muggy summer days the Democrats nearly committed suicide.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The peculiar election system of the United States requires a Presidential candidate to assemble a majority of votes in the Electoral College. This is one of the most important reasons why a huge and diverse society such as the United States has only two major political parties. Instead of a splintered system with dozens of small parties such as in many European nations, the system is prejudiced toward two broadly based, umbrella-like parties that force political groups to work together to achieve that magic number in the electoral college. This tendency is also reflected in state and local elections.

Disputed Election of 1876 III

Lead: The fix was in. A deal with Southern democrats in 1876 made Rutherford B. Hayes President of the Unit-ed States.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the election of 1876, Sam Tilden, the New York Democrat was ahead in the popular vote and only one vote shy in the Electoral College. When the College met after the election, the votes of three Southern states were in dispute. To win, Hayes, the Republican candidate, needed all those Southern votes.

Disputed Election of 1876 II

Faced with a deadlocked election in 1876, Congress began to negotiate.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1876 the Democrat, Samuel J. Tilden, won the popular vote, 250,000, and had 184 votes in the Elec-toral College, one vote shy of election. Tilden's opponent, Governor Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio, was far behind at 165 votes and needed all votes of three disputed Southern states to win. All three, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida, were controlled by Republicans but they were accusing local Democrats of intimidating Blacks and thus preventing them from voting. Actually, both sides were guilty of fraud. In Louisiana, the members of the electoral commission were all Re-publicans but the chairman, J. Madison Wells offered Louisiana's votes to the highest bidder. Tilden's nephew William Pelton, the acting secretary of the Democratic National Committee, offered Wells $200,000 but the money got there too late and Wells was forced to accept a lesser offer from the Republicans.

Disputed Election of 1876 I

Lead: The Presidential Election in 1876 ended in deadlock. Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican Governor of Ohio, won, but not without some highly questionable deals on both sides.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: After fifteen years of war and Reconstruction and two terms of corrupt politics under Republican President Ulysses S. Grant, the electorate was toying with the idea of returning the Democratic Party to the White House. The Democrats already controlled the House of Representatives and nominated the reform-minded Governor of New York, Samuel J. Tilden.

Presidential Wit: Abraham Lincoln

Lead: Of the weapons available to the politician, among the most powerful is humor. No one was better at wielding that weapon than Abraham Lincoln.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Few politicians can survive if they become an object of laughter and ridicule. On the other hand, those seeking office who have the ability to use humor as a weapon against opponents or as a means of giving themselves a more sympathetic and down-to-earth image, go a long way to winning the support and perhaps the affection of the electorate. A sense of humor is not required for election, but it helps, both to soften the blow of losing or, even better, to keep political success in correct perspective.

Nixon Visits China IV

Lead: They were vigorous ideological opponents. Therefore, President Richard Nixon and the Communist leaders of China were in an excellent position to break out of old habits.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The habit of opposition can stand in the way of diplomatic progress. In the early 1970s for hard-nosed political and economic reasons, the old enemies, Communist China and the United States, reached out to one another. The United States was mired in a war in Vietnam it could not win without provoking a wider Asian conflict, Nixon needed a boost to his re-election chances, and the vast Chinese market offered hope for expanded trade to a troubled American economy. Mao Zedong and the other Chinese leaders were just emerging from the isolation of the highly destructive Cultural Revolution, needed a counter-weight in their disputes with the Soviet Union, and wanted U.S. concessions on the Taiwan dispute and the China seat in the United Nations. They also desired access to Western technology.