Benjamin Franklin I

Lead: Among the core founders of the American republic, Benjamin Franklin is considered by many to be the most accomplished in many fields and, of course, he was the oldest.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Franklin’s life spanned the eighteenth century and he engaged himself in many of the important cultural, political and intellectual developments that mark that singular period. He was 10 among the sons of Josiah Franklin, a Boston soap and candle-maker. Ben had little formal education and began his working life at the age of 12 apprenticed to his brother James from whom he learned the print trade. During that period Franklin began to experiment with the epigrammatic writing style that would distinguish his work and make his fortune in the years ahead.

Oneida Community II

Lead: Accused of immorality, followers of radical perfectionist John Humphrey Noyes fled to sanctuary near the Canadian border on the banks of Oneida Creek.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Noyes believed in perfectionism, the idea that by Christ’s grace, Christians have no sin. He rejected monogamous marriage and accusations of free love forced the group to leave their home in Putney, Vermont to settle in remote Madison County, New York. Eventually, 31 adults and 14 children moved to Oneida. By 1849, there were 100 members of the community. That number had grown to approximately 300 in 1880.

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Oneida Community I

Lead: The 1800s were a time of intellectual and religious ferment. As a part of this excitement, Perfectionists established a community on Oneida Creek in New York.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Emerging from the American revivalist movement of the early 1800s, a group of Christian thinkers began to adopt an extreme form of perfectionism. They believed that the grace of Christ conveyed to them true perfection and a few very radical thinkers believed that perfection was permanent and irrevocable. One of these radicals was John Humphrey Noyes, a seminary student at Yale. In 1834 he asserted to his fellow students that he was without sin and was freed from the restraints of biblical law. His position led to bitter controversy on the Yale campus and he was forced by the faculty to give up his license to preach. He left.

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Louisiana Purchase

Lead: In 1803 Thomas Jefferson went into the real estate business, big time.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After a two-year lull, in 1803 Napoleon I, the French emperor, found himself at war with the rest of Europe. He wished to reduce his exposure to British naval attacks in the New World so as to concentrate his forces in the Old. In a surprise offer, the American commissioners in Paris were told the French wished to unload all their holdings in the heart of the Continent. Jefferson, with the Senate's concurrence, purchased a huge chunk of North America from Napoleon.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer II

Lead: Faced with agonizing alternatives between his instinctive pacifism and participation in the violent overthrow of Adolf Hitler, German theologian and pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer made his choice.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In June 1939 Dietrich Bonhoeffer returned to Union Theological Seminary in New York. There in the relative safety of Morningside Heights, he would teach where he had previously studied, but by the end of the month he was on the way back to Germany. His conscience had claimed him. “Christians in Germany face the terrible alternative of willing the defeat of their nation in order that civilization may survive, or willing the victory of their nation and thereby destroying civilization. I know which of these alternatives I must choose. But I cannot make that choice in security.”

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer I

Lead: The life of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer demonstrated the practical, as well as the dangerous, consequences of moral leadership.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In his formative years, few would have considered Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a candidate for martyrdom. His upbringing and training, however, were of a somewhat more academic bent than most who aspired to service as German Lutheran pastors in the early twentieth century. His father was a professor of psychiatry at the University of Berlin and Bonhoeffer followed the academic path to Tübingen, Berlin, and New York’s Union Theological Seminary. Along the way, in addition to his scholarly pursuits, he served churches in Harlem, New York, Barcelona, Spain, and London. By 1931, as the political storm gathered in Germany, he was home lecturing and doing church work in Berlin.

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James Knox Polk and Hail to the Chief II

Lead: The use of the stirring, heroic melody, Hail to the Chief, was ritualized by First Lady Sarah Childress Polk, dealing with her husband’s public relations problems. The story behind the tune, however, is not very good news for a politician.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: James Knox Polk, Eleventh President of the United States, was short, usually unkempt and wore cheap, ill-fitting suits. He and Sarah were not universally popular in Washington society and he could walk into a room and be completely ignored. To call attention to his presence and increase respect, Sarah Polk decreed that he should have a theme song. Whenever he entered the room, the Marine Band was instructed to play Hail to the Chief.

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James Knox Polk and Hail to the Chief I

Lead: Frustrated that her husband was being ignored at social and political events, the First Lady determined that the president needed a theme song. Of such are traditions born.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: James Knox Polk was an unprepossessing man. He was short, he usually sported a bad haircut, and he wore cheap oversized suits. Often the President of the United States was ignored when he entered the room. In short, he was a public relation expert's nightmare. Nevertheless, Polk had a secret political weapon. It was his wife, Sarah.

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