The Great London Fire I

Lead: During four days in the late summer of 1666 the medieval city of London was largely destroyed by fire.

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

Content: Already reeling from another of the periodic outbreaks of the Black Death, the bubonic plague, the City of London in the summer of 1666 was weak and crowded and dirty. With a population of a half a million, London was the richest and most important city in the western world, but for most living there was no picnic.

 

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Maine: Birthplace of Legislative Prohibition

Lead: Carved out of Massachusetts and born of controversy the State of Maine early on exhibited a streak of moralistic reform. It was the first state to experiment with Prohibition.

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

Content: Neal Dow was a man with a purpose. He was convinced that spirituous liquors were at the heart of violence and poverty in his state. Maine's two leading industries, logging and fishing, kept men away from the restraining influences of home and exposed them to temptation. The result was a population given to drink and neglecting their families and work.

 

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Aborted 13th Amendment II

Lead: With seven states having already bolted from the Union, Congress in the winter of 1861 was desperate to save what was left.

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

Content: The repudiated James Buchanan was in the White House. Two blocks away in the Willard Hotel a minority President-elect, Abraham Lincoln was reluctant to do much of anything until his inauguration. In the resulting power vacuum, the moderate leaders of Congress were trying to figure out a way to soothe the fears of the slave-holding South and prevent additional states from pulling out. In the Senate the search for compromise was led by John J. Crittenden of Kentucky. His solution protected the property rights of slaveholders throughout the nation and placed into the Constitution the notion of popular sovereignty or squatter whereby states would be admitted without condition, leaving each to decide about slavery on their own. When this seemed to go nowhere he suggested the revival of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which permitted slavery only in new states south of Missouri's southern border. His proposals failed.

 

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Assassination of Huey Pierce Long

Lead: On September 8, 1935, Huey Pierce Long, United States Senator from Louisiana was assassinated in the State Capital building in Baton Rouge.

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

Content: Carl Austin Weiss, in the mid-1930s, was one of best ear, nose, and throat physicians in Louisiana. He was a graduate of LSU and Tulane University medical school and shared a prosperous New Orleans practice with his father. Weiss was not a political animal and though he occasionally expressed disgust at the political circus being played out in the state at the time his main concern was his profession and his family. Yet, in the fall of 1935 he killed the most powerful politician Louisiana had yet produced and one of the most colorful in American history.

 

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Gandhi in South Africa II

Lead: Mahatma Gandhi first built his reputation as it led the movement to secure rights for Indian workers in sugar plantations in early twentieth century South Africa.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The cash crop of Natal province on the eastern coast of South Africa was sugar cane. Native Africans resisted working on the plantations and therefore thousands of emigrant workers were brought from India. Some went home after their contract expired, others stayed. In the 1880s torn between their need for Indian labor and fear of the growth of the Indian population, white South Africans of both Dutch and English heritage began to restrict Indian rights, this despite the stated British policy which accorded legal equality to all subjects of the Empire regardless of race or place of origin.

 

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Gandhi in South Africa I

Lead: In his campaign for Indian freedom in the 1940s, Mahatma Gandhi used skills and tactics he sharpened in a fight for justice in turn of the twentieth century South Africa.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Most people have an image of Gandhi as a shriveled figure dressed in traditional clothes whose use of non-violence helped drive the British from the Indian sub-continent. Few remember that he spent over twenty years as a lawyer in South Africa deeply involved in alleviating abuses direct toward the Indian emigrant community.

 

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Aborted 13th Amendment I

Lead: With the Union in disarray Congress in the early months of 1861 passed an amendment to the Constitution that quite possibly could have permitted slavery in the United States to continue indefinitely.

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

Content: It was the "secession winter" and melancholy had descended over the City of Washington. A split in the Democratic Party and the resulting four way election of 1860 had given the Presidency to Abraham Lincoln but he was a minority President elected by less than forty percent of the popular vote. In December South Carolina seceded, six other states followed. The repudiated and politically impotent James Buchanan sat in the White House.

 

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The Great Schism

Lead: For sixty years the Popes of the Roman Catholic Church lived in Avignon in the South of France. Sixty years of extravagance, spiritual neglect, and declining church influence. Just at the moment it seemed things could not get worse, they did.

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

Content: After six decades in France the prospect of further troubles convinced Pope Gregory XI to move back to Rome. Unfortunately he died shortly thereafter and when the College of Cardinals met to pick his successor, mobs poured into the streets of Rome, surrounded the place of meeting and put great pressure on the Cardinals to elect an Italian, who, they hoped, would keep headquarters in Rome. They elected Archbishop Bartolomeo Prignano who took the name Urban VI.

 

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