American Revolution: British Constitutional Debate III

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: As First Minister to King George III, George Grenville was the author of the Stamp Tax passed by the British Parliament in 1765 to secure money to pay for British troops stationed in America. This tax provoked widespread resistance and even rioting in the colonies because of the conviction that, since Americans were not represented in Parliament, Parliament had no right to tax them. When William Pitt rose in Parliament to agree with the American position and urge repeal of the tax, Grenville responded with vigorous denunciation of the rebellious attitude and lack of appreciation in the colonies for the protection Britain afforded with troops on land and for American commerce on the open seas by the British Navy. “Protection and obedience are reciprocal,” he roared, “Great Britain protects America; America is bound to yield obedience.”

American Revolution: British Constitutional Debate II

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: William Pitt the Elder was one of Britain’s great First Ministers. He had led the nation to victory in the Seven Years’ War and in winter 1766 rose to call for repeal of the Stamp Tax, one of the first of several revenue schemes Parliament passed in the 1760s and 1770s to get America to help pay for the troops that Britain stationed in America to protect Americans. His argument was that Britain had no right to lay a tax on the colonies because Americans were not represented in Parliament.

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.

First Ladies: Bess Truman

Lead: She didn’t like politics and thought of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the “Great White Jail, but she loved Harry Truman and if he wanted to live there she would be his partner in life and service.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Harry Truman first met Elizabeth Virginia Wallace at the Sunday School of the Presbyterian Church in Independence, Missouri. He was six, she was five. Until his death in 1972 at eighty-nine she never was far from his thoughts. Pursuing Bess was not easy. He was from a family of dirt farmers, she from one of the wealthiest in town. It took a long time and a lot of work on his part for Madge Wallace to warm to Harry and for the balance of her life Mother Wallace was a member of the Truman household, part of the price he paid to win Bess.

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First Ladies: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy

Lead: The Massachusetts politician was twice rebuffed by the lovely socialite. It seemed their courtship couldn't quite get off the ground.

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

Content: John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Jacqueline Lee Bouvier seemed an ideal match. Both were Roman Catholic, aristocratic, wealthy and attractive, but both led very busy lives and he was involved in what seemed to be an up-hill campaign for the Senate.  

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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."

 

 

 

 

The Know-Nothing Party I

Lead: In 1854 the Know-Nothing Party riding a wave of anti-immigrant prejudice, rolled up victory after victory. Except for the pre-Civil War Republicans, it was the best third party showing in American history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The United States is nation of immigrants. Beginning with the Jamestown Colony in 1607, successive waves of aliens have sought a new life and prosperity in what they considered to be a land of opportunity. Crowding out the original Native Americans, whose ancient ancestors actually may have themselves emigrated from the eastern Asia, more strangers arrived each decade in search of a new home. Within a couple of generations, their families now firmly established, many of the newcomers considered themselves "native Americans" and looked with barely tolerant superiority at the next batch of immigrants spilling onto the docks of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.

 

 

 

 

American Revolution: Colonial Non-Importation III

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: Trying to devise a means of expressing their opposition to taxation without parliamentary representation, Britain’s North American colonists resorted to an old tactic which had worked during the Stamp Act crisis of 1765-1766: they stopped importing British goods. After the repeal of the Stamp Act and the Sugar Act, Parliament then turned right around and passed the Townshend taxes on commodities such as glass, paper and tea. The non-importation movement took a long time to catch on as merchants and traders were reluctant get involved in such a coercive campaign because it would hurt their business. Yet, by the summer of 1768 the circumstances in the colonies were gradually becoming more and more ominous.

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