Presidential Wit: Richard Nixon

Lead: Humor is the ready partner of many successful politicians, but humor never came easy to Richard Nixon. He succeeded largely without it.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: To evaluate the wit of Richard Nixon is difficult. There is Watergate. There is a widespread but inaccurate perception that Nixon had no humor at all. His sense of humor was real, but it reflected the darkness of his emotional apparatus, the demons and hostility that plagued him.

Dorothea Dix II

Lead: A chance encounter in the East Cambridge Jail in 1841 gave Dorothea Dix a cause to pursue, a focus for her intellect and considerable energy, and a passion which would consume her for the rest of her life.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Dorothea Dix, daughter of an alcoholic itinerant minister, but granddaughter of a prominent and wealthy Boston physician, in her early years was a devout Christian. She believed her affluent, cultured upbringing and her faith placed powerful requirements on her life. She felt compelled into a life of service to those in society less fortunate, less wealthy, less healthy, less indulged than she.

Read more →

Dorothea Dix I

Lead: She came from a life of wealth and social prominence, but Dorothea Dix devoted her life to good causes, especially helping to improve the treatment of the mentally ill.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Dorothea Dix’s early years were not happy. Her father was the estranged son of a prominent Boston family. An alcoholic who suffered religious delusions, Joseph Dix barely kept his family out of starvation. Dorothy refused to live in such conditions and eventually, at the age of twelve, fled to Boston where she lived with relatives for the next several years.

Read more →

Court Martial of Billy Mitchell II

Lead: In the 1920s, the U.S. military was hampered by severe budget cutbacks and a debate on the future of the airplane. One persistent, prophetic, but on more than one occasion obnoxious voice in the debate was General William “Billy” Mitchell.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Billy Mitchell’s father and grandfather were congressmen. He thus grew up in the circles of power and expected people to listen when he spoke, but his habit of going public with his ideas and tendency to browbeat his opponents diminished his influence with the Army. Mitchell’s experience as head of Army air combat forces in Europe during World War I led him to conclude that the warplane was the key to victory in future conflicts and he went on a crusade to prove it. He was particularly adept at using the press to further his ideas. He arranged a series of highly-publicized tests in which his bombers spectacularly sank several surplus battleships thus proving their vulnerability and increasing obsolescence.

Read more →

Court Martial of Billy Mitchell I

Lead: Billy Mitchell’s experience as Army air combat commander during World War I showed him that future success in warfare depended on air power. His problem was that he just couldn’t keep quiet about it.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Before the war Mitchell had a limited view of the airplane’s potential. He was in the Signal Corps and believed flying machines were primarily useful only for reconnaissance, flying behind and over the battlefield, spotting artillery, tracking enemy maneuvers, and aiding in fast communication and travel. As the months in Europe passed, his perspective began to change. He started to fly battle missions beside his pilots and eventually rose to be leader of the Army’s air arm. Under actual combat conditions, additional powerful possibilities for the airplane began to emerge. Tactically, warplanes could support troops fighting on the ground and strategically, planes could help destroy enemy installations behind the lines.

Read more →

Australian Gold Rush

Lead: On January 20, 1788, six transports delivered 750 convicts to Botany Bay. Sixty-five years and 168,000 prisoners later, the practice of deportation to New South Wales was abruptly terminated.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: In January, 1851 Edward Hargraves returned to Sydney, Australia. He had spent some time in the Gold Fields during the first years after its discovery in California. This reminded him of similar geological formations he had noted in territory along the Macquarie River northwest of Sydney two decades before.

Read more →

History’s Turning Points: Huckleberry Finn II

Historical study reveals twists in the human journey. Consider the continuing controversy over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The publication of Huckleberry Finn was greeted with howls of derision by readers and institutions accustomed to the Romantic style of narrative. The author, Mark Twain, was a devotee of literary Realism, a movement within American and European literature that emerged after the Civil War and extended into the twentieth century. It may be defined as “the faithful representation of reality.” Authors such as William James, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Twain attempted in their writings to describe the lives and language of their characters as they really were. By the middle of the twentieth Huckleberry Finn was being hailed as a milestone in American literary progress.

History’s Turning Points: Huckleberry Finn I

Lead: Historical study often reveals twists in the human journey. Consider a literary turning point: Samuel Clemens’ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Mark Twain’s epic novel of journey and redemption started in dispute and has remained controversial into the 21st Century. The story of Huck Finn, the slave Jim, and the fascinating cast of characters they encountered along their way down the Mississippi was greeted with howls of priggish denunciation when it was first published. “Hackwork,” “rubbish,” “coarse” were just a few expletives directed toward the book. The Concord Massachusetts Public Library called it more suited to “slums than to…respectable people.”

Read more →