FDR and Court Packing IV

Lead: Emboldened by the most powerful election victory in memory, Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to invalidate a hostile majority on the Supreme Court by packing the Court with new Justices.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Court majority led by Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes was opposed to a significant number of Roosevelt's New Deal laws and declared them unconstitutional. Instead of trying to amend the Constitution to get his legislation through, the President decided to pack the Supreme Court with several new justices more attuned to his way of doing business. It was a political disaster.

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FDR and Court Packing III

Lead: With a hostile Supreme Court majority, Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced the real possibility that the New Deal would be destroyed.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Under the United States Constitution, it is given to the U.S. Supreme Court, the responsibility to interpret provisions of the constitution and judge the validity of laws passed by state and federal governments. In 1935 and 1936 the Supreme Court began taking apart the New Deal. At first, the damage was only theoretical. The Court upheld, but only barely, Roosevelt's 1933 termination of gold convertibility.

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FDR and Court Packing II

Lead: With the New Deal set at peril, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced a U. S. Supreme Court that was decimating his legislative agenda through the process of judicial review.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In over two centuries of sometimes radical social and economic change, the United States Constitution has remained relatively undisturbed. It is essentially the same document ratified by the infant nation in the late 18th Century. After the Bill of Rights, only sixteen times has use been made of the intricate amending procedure proscribed in Article V. Constitutional change by amendment is possible but not easy, therefore other techniques have been used to adapt constitutional structures to the needs of a changing world.

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FDR and Court Packing I

Lead: In 1935 and 1936 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down important pieces of President Franklin Roosevelt's legislative agenda. The New Deal was in peril and FDR decided to take on the Court.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Franklin Roosevelt came to his political majority during the heady adolescence of progressivism in America. Under his Presidential cousin Teddy and Woodrow Wilson, the constitutional power of the President was interpreted broadly and the role of the Federal government was expanded. Anti-trust legislation to a certain degree began to reign in the power of corporations, with the Interstate Commerce Act the government began to regulate the passage of goods within the nations, and the Federal Reserve began to introduce some regulation to the banking system.

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Somer’s Mutiny III

Lead: In the fall of 1842 the sailing brig USS Somers was in mid-Atlantic on the homebound leg of a officer training cruise. The stench of mutiny was in the air.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Captain Alexander Slidell Mackenzie received word of the threatened mutiny when the ship was ten days out of St. Thomas. The conspirators were Midshipman Philip Spencer, Petty Officer Samuel Cromwell and Seaman Elisha Small, plus an undetermined number of apprentices Spencer, as the conspiracy's leader, had been recruiting.

For some time the officers had been noting a change in attitude. Orders were obeyed grudgingly and in a surly manner. On November 25th Spencer approached the purser's steward, James W. Wales with the details of the plot. On a night during his turn as officer of the watch, Spencer planned to kill the officers and turn the Somers into a pirate ship operating out of the Isle of Pines off Cuba. He had a list of the crew divided by their disposition toward the conspiracy. Those who failed to go along, unwilling sailors and useless boys, just like the dead officers, were to be tossed overboard as shark bait.

 

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Somer’s Mutiny

Lead: In the fall of 1842, the sailing brig USS Somers with 121 officers and crew began its training voyage to the west coast of Africa. Within a week of sailing the seeds of mutiny were planted.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Midshipman Philip Spencer was the son of one of the finest families of New York. His father was Secretary of War under President John Tyler. Despite his genteel upbringing, Philip was a constant source of annoyance. Bounced out of more than one college, through his father's political influence he had received a midshipman's warrant in the Navy. There he quickly established a reputation for insubordination and troublemaking. He twice struck a superior officer before being shipped out on USS John Adams bound for Brazil. During a month at Rio de Janeiro, Spencer spent most of his time in brothels and taverns often coming back to the ship completely drunk. Commodore Morris of the Brazil Squadron probably feared that if he properly punished the boy he would get himself in political trouble, so he had Spencer shipped back to New York.

 

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Somer’s Mutiny I

Lead: The most notorious mutiny in the history of the United States Navy grew out of Matthew Perry's desire to reform the training of young officers.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Matthew Calbraith Perry, the younger brother of War of 1812 naval hero Oliver Hazard Perry, had a long, illustrious career in the Navy. Through his forceful diplomacy in the 1850s, the younger Perry opened Japan to trade with the outside world. He also displayed a talent for administrative innovation and in the early 1840s came up with a new way of training officers. In the early years of the United States Navy, in a custom carried over from British naval tradition, certain ship's boys with leadership potential were designated midshipmen and received the special training necessary to become officers.

 

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Morrill Act (Education)

Lead: In 1862 higher education in the United States received a boost from the gentleman from Vermont, Justin Morrill.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Before Justin Smith Morrill was elected to Congress on an anti-slavery ticket in 1854 he had been a store clerk, merchant and a farmer. As a congressman he shifted to the new Republican Party and gradually moved up in the leadership, serving as Speaker of the House beginning in 1865. Moving over to the Senate he represented Vermont in that body for 31 years before his death in 1898. In the Senate he was Chairman of the Finance Committee and there insured the completion of the Washington Monument and a major expansion of the Library of Congress.

 

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