The Dreyfus Affair IV

Lead: Imprisoned for treason he did not commit, French Army Captain Alfred Dreyfus became the focus of a great national crusade.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Dreyfus was clearly innocent. His 1894 conviction was fixed by military authorities anxious to protect the Army from the embarrassing discovery of a German spy in the War Ministry, but they got the wrong man. While Dreyfus served his sentence on Devil's Island, the infamous French prison colony off the coast of South America, his family and a growing number of supporters worked to prove his innocence. Among the most prominent of the Dreyfusards were George Clémenceau, the future wartime Premier, and the novelist and left wing agitator, Emile Zola.

The Dreyfus Affair III

Lead: Accused of spying for the Germans in 1894, French Army Captain Alfred Dreyfus became the subject of a furious cultural struggle.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the last half of the 1900s France was a study in conflict. Little more than half the population even spoke the French language. Rural areas were suspicious of the more prosperous industrial cities. Railroads which would help bring the country together were delayed until late in the century. Many Frenchmen openly advocated a return to monarchy and deeply resented the so-called Third Republic, set up after the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Leading the call for monarchy were many Roman Catholics who felt threatened by republican attacks on Catholic schools.

The Dreyfus Affair II

Lead: The year was 1894 and a German spy was known to be at work in the French Ministry of War. Investigators accused Captain Alfred Dreyfus who became a target in great measure because he was a Jew.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Anti-Semitism has rumbled just beneath the surface of western culture since the twilight of the Christian era. Occasionally engaged in open persecution, anti-Semites considered Jews to be clannish and their religious practices more than a little subversive. Many Jews were involved in the professions of law, medicine, and when permitted, occupied key positions in national service. Because the Roman Catholic Church prohibited the charging of interest, Jews, not burdened by such regulations, gravitated toward finance, money-lending, and commerce. An added advantage of these occupations was that, in times of persecution, Jewish assets were portable. Cash crosses borders.

The Dreyfus Affair I

Lead: In the 1890s the trial and conviction of Alfred Dreyfus exposed the great divisions in France and in European society as a whole.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1870, the military powerhouse of northern Europe, Prussia, crushed the forces of French emperor, Napoleon III, in a swift military campaign. France was unprepared for the much more modern Prussian technology and tactics and was overwhelmed. The war brought important changes in both countries. The old Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck used the war emergency to force reluctant parts of Germany into a single German empire led by the Prussian King who was then crowned Kaiser William I at Versailles just outside of Paris in January 1871. Bismarck understood the value of the gratuitous insult. Nothing could be more humiliating to the French than to have the new German emperor crowned in the palace of France's greatest King Louis XIV.

Albany Plan of Union II

 

Lead: Called together to deal with Indian dissatisfaction with their perceived lack of British support in their struggle with the French, the Albany Congress of 1754 went off in a whole new direction.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Not all the colonies sent delegates and the Iroquois representatives showed up late, but it was clear by June 27, 1754 that there two major issues at hand, mollifying the Indians and drafting a structure for a Union of the colonies. The first matter took several days and with the presentation of 30 wagonloads of gifts and endless talk, the alliance was largely restored. Benjamin Franklin was much impressed by the unity and sophistication that he saw within the Iroquois League and wrote at the time, “It would be a strange thing if Six Nations of ignorant savages should be capable of forming a scheme for such an union, and be able to execute it in such a manner as…subsisted [for] ages and appears indissoluble; and yet…a like union should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies, to whom it is more necessary and must be more advantageous, and who cannot be supposed to want an equal understanding of their interests.” After hearing the eloquent speeches of the Iroquois chieftains at the meeting he presumably revised his appreciation of ‘savage ignorance.’

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The Albany Plan of Union I

Lead: In 1754 a little-remembered gathering of delegates in Albany, N.Y, called to address an Indian dispute, put together a bold colonial plan of union. It might have prevented the Revolution.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The fur trade was one of the foundations of colonial economic enterprise in North America. Management was by Dutch traders, but supply came by way of Native Americans, most importantly Mohawk, Seneca, and the Iroquois League. These eastern tribal groupings were allied with the British. As English settlers gradually moved into the Ohio Valley, western tribes and their French Canadian allies began to attack the English and the eastern alliance. Indians felt abandoned by the English and threatened to break their long lasting economic and military covenant.

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The Know-Nothing Party II

Lead: Formed to resist the flood of immigrants in the 1850s, the Know-Nothing Party made prejudice pay big dividends at the ballot box.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1853 the Order of United Americans had chapters in towns all over the country. Riding a wave of resentment against the huge influx of German and Irish immigrants, the Order was better known as the Know-Nothing movement. Legend says that it took its name from what members said to questions about the Order's secret meetings - "I know nothing."