American Revolution: British Constitutional Debate I

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Remarkably, some of the most articulate and vigorous opposition to the Revolutionary Era Stamp Act of 1765 was heard in the Houses of Parliament which had levied the tax on colonies. The Act’s repeal in late winter 1766 revealed a major constitutional fault line in Parliamentary debate and British society that would continue until the Treaty of Paris in 1783 released America into independence. The issue was the extent of Parliament’s taxing authority. Few doubted that Parliament could do just about anything it wanted to do, including levying taxes. The colonies were asserting, however, that Parliament had no right to tax Americans because they were not represented in Parliament. This affirmed one of the signature tenets of English Constitutional system. No one can be taxed unless they are represented in the institution doing the taxing. In that the colonies were making a distinction between taxation and ordinary legislation: that the government cannot rifle though my back pocket unless I elect the representative doing the rifling.

Guernica II

Lead: In April 1937 the town of Guernica in the Basque region of Spain was virtually leveled by German bombers in a brutal act of terror bombing.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Spanish Civil War pitted the Nationalist rebels under General Franco against the Republican Army, but it revealed many of the divisions in Spanish society. The fighting was brutal and atrocities were committed by both sides. Thousands died during the three-year conflict and many more were executed in its aftermath. What made the war especially harsh was outside participation.

Guernica I

Lead: It was not the first terror bombing in the twentieth century, nor the last, nor the worst, but that day in Guernica in 1937 remains a lasting symbol of brutality.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Civil wars are not very civil. Somehow the struggle of neighbor against neighbor, brother against sister, friend against friend, ratchets up the intensity of a conflict. The presence of common ancestry, religion, language, and ethnicity aggravate the normal emotions present when people make war on one another.

The Keziah Affair, 1858

During the 1850s, with increasing desperation, the white population of the Upper South witnessed the success of slaves escaping North, both through individual exploits and organized efforts such as the Underground Railroad. In 1855 the Norfolk Southern Argus wrote that the “frequent escapes of fugitives from our port” were “an intolerable evil.” The next year the Virginia General Assembly required that all ships leaving the state for the North had to be inspected. With this heightened scrutiny and white anger came increasing resourcefulness on the part of slaves and their allies assisting in their escape.
Read more →

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 →

The Spruce Goose II

Lead: With Allied shipping in serious jeopardy due to German submarine attacks during the early years of World War II, military planners turned to aircraft manufacturers. Howard Hughes responded with the Spruce Goose.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Metal for the construction of experimental aircraft was scarce in 1942. Therefore, when the designers at Hughes Aircraft began their mock-up of the gigantic new cargo plane, they built their model using Duramold, lightweight plywood saturated with synthetic glue to make it waterproof and very strong. The basic airframe had no nails, screws or rivets, no metal at all. Skilled woodworkers crafted special joints that were bonded with glue for strength.

The Spruce Goose I

Lead: Of all the problems the Allies faced in the summer of 1942, none was more threatening than unrestrained submarine warfare. German U-boats were sinking transport ships faster than they could be built.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Fresh challenges seemed to inspire Howard Robard Hughes, Jr.. At the age of 17 he took control of the Hughes Tool Company upon the death of his father. This provided the financial base for Howard's other interests. In 1926 he migrated to Hollywood where over the years he produced numerous motion pictures and premiered actors such as Jean Harlow and Jane Russell. Hughes eventually owned and later sold RKO Pictures.

Alan Turing III

Lead: After describing the modern programmable computer and helping break the German Enigma codes, British mathematician Alan Turing turned his attention to artificial intelligence.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the wartime emergency, Turing joined Britain’s National Physical Laboratory. There he helped finalize plans for an Automatic Computing Machine (ACE), which followed his 1937 theory advocating a device that could do many tasks depending on the information fed into it. Unfortunately, the National Lab was bogged down in bureaucratic inertia and, discouraged by the slow pace, Turing, in 1948, accepted a position at the University of Manchester.