A House Divided: Total War I

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: War has never been pretty. Even when armies and nations attempted to regulate the conduct of warfare, for centuries non-combatants were inevitably drawn into the pain and suffering, their livelihoods, farms, homes, children, and the elderly. Long before the 20th century perfection of total war when machines of destruction rained down their devastation on enemy soldiers and their home-bound families alike, a glimpse of such coming horror played itself out in the States of Georgia and South Carolina during the American Civil War. The artist who sketched this gruesome canvas was Major General William Tecumseh Sherman who, if not the author of total war, was certainly one of its most visible early practitioners.

John Locke – Prophet of Political Freedom – II

Lead:  His political philosophy laid the foundation for modern liberal democracy, but in many ways John Locke helped change the way people think. Some have called him the first modern mind.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Not content to simply absorb the classical education he received at 17th century Westminster School and Oxford University, John Locke embarked upon a life of fruitful inquiry into a wide variety of disciplines. He was interested in medicine, experimental science, philosophy, economics, practical politics, education, language, diplomacy, and religion, in a hungry but not Faustian pursuit of knowledge. In most of these fields he was not an expert, but neither was he an amateur floating from one whim to another.

John Locke – Prophet of Political Freedom – I

Lead: Emerging from the political ferment of the English Civil War, John Locke, one of the seminal thinkers of the 17th century, laid the philosophical basis for liberal representative government.


Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


Content: John Locke was born in 1632 in Pensford, south of Bristol, England. His father, a country attorney, was of puritan inclination and fought in the Civil War on the side of Parliament. This enabled him to send his son to Westminster School where the boy’s superior performance earned him a scholarship at Christ Church College, Oxford. There he also excelled, but found the traditional curriculum tedious and demonstrated early a lifelong eclectic interest in a wide variety of subjects such as empirical science and medicine.

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.


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.

Nat Turner, Slave Rebellion III

Lead: In the summer of 1831, Nat Turner, a religious mystic convinced that God had called him as a prophet, led a group of followers on a bloody rampage through south-side Virginia in the most serious slave rebellion in U.S. history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Nat Turner was a gifted and powerful, mesmerizing slave preacher. Nearly all his life Nat Turner could read and write. His owners from the early days encouraged him to read those portions of the Bible that tell slaves to live lives of dutiful and submissive obedience. Yet, he also read subversive portions of the scriptures that gave him hope that one day he might achieve freedom. By the mid-1820s, Nat Turner was attracting large groups of slaves to his preaching services on Sundays near Cross Keys in Southampton County or down near the North Carolina border.

Nat Turner, Slave Rebellion II

Lead: Even as a child, people could tell Nat Turner was exceptional. His intelligence and physical presence marked him for leadership in the slave community of south-side Virginia.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Benjamin Turner owned a small plantation outside the town of Cross Keys in the Virginia county of Southampton, nestled on the North Carolina border 70 miles southeast of Richmond. His land was heavily forested and only about 100 acres were under cultivation. It was enough, however, for him to afford to keep slaves, the mark of status in the South, and in 1799 he bought a slave woman freshly arrived from Africa. He named her Nancy and in the next year she gave birth to Nathaniel.

Nat Turner, Slave Rebellion I

Lead: In August 1831 the southside Virginia county of Southhampton was convulsed by the deadliest slave rebellion in North American history. One of roots of the rebellion was Southern white ambivalence about slavery.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Despite the growing economic dependence upon slave labor in the American South after the Revolution, there was powerful ambivalence among many Southerners about the institution of slavery. It mocked the philosophical foundation of the republic itself, violating the principles animating the Declaration of Independence. Many religious groups were increasingly vocal about the immorality of slavery. Quakers, anti-slavery Baptists, and, before 1800, Methodists vigorously denounced the practice and encouraged slave owners to manumit their slaves. In the North, slavery was gradually eliminated by custom, sentiment, and legal prohibition, so that the South became increasingly isolated in the national debate.