Anglo-Zulu War – I

Lead: In the late 1870s faced with a British imperial ultimatum to disband their military system, the Zulu clans of Northeastern South Africa prepared for a war their leader was certain they would lose.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: The ancient tribal homeland of the Zulu lies north of the Tugela River in the northeastern part of South Africa’s Natal Province. The Zulu are a Bantu-speaking people, part of the Nguni ethnic grouping and were a relatively unimportant clan until the early decades of the 1800s. At that time there came to the throne one of the significant military thinkers in world history. Shaka (Chaka) subdued his family rivals and united the Zulu clans under his leadership. He then began to re-organize the Zulu war apparatus. He modified the traditional tribal weapon, the assegai, creating a new short iron sword designed for close in combat, he shaped his army into regiments, housed them in barracks for most of the year, refused to allow them to wear shoes so as to toughen their feet, thus increasing their speed, and then developed new unified flanking tactics directed by hand signals which when perfected overwhelmed his African enemies and gave the Zulu preeminence in the region.


Lead: One of the most fearsome and famous methods of capital punishment  was actually developed as a more humane and democratic way of execution. It is named for an obscure member of the French National Assembly, a young physician, Joseph-Ignace Guillotine.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: Decapitation as a means of execution has been a part of the human experience since the dawn of time. The quick easy removal of the victim’s head brought a swift conclusion to their earthly journey; a sharp blade, a heavy well-placed blow brought matters to a timely end. Mechanical devices for execution may have used in various European countries before 1300, but there is no evidence for this prior to the execution of Murcod Ballagh near Merton Ireland in 1307. By 1564 in Scotland such a mechanism was in common use. It was called “The Maiden,” and consisted of two grooved upright posts held together at the top by a cross-member and at the bottom by diagonal supports. The person to be offed was trussed-up, laid faced down with their neck lined up with the grooves. At the moment of execution a very heavy oblique, steel-clad, iron blade held in lead-lined wooden casing would be released and the victim’s head would be quickly and painlessly severed from his torso.

Stonewall Jackson and Friendly Fire – Part II

Lead: At Chancellorsville, in May 1863, Robert E. Lee achieved his greatest military victory. He paid at a terrible price. Among the 13,000 Confederate casualties was his right arm, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: Following the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 1862, Lee’s 60,000 men spent the winter in camps just south of that small Rappahannock village. Just across the river Joe Hooker’s Army of the Potomac, 130,000 strong.

Stonewall Jackson and Friendly Fire – I

Lead: In May 1863, during the Civil War, Stonewall Jackson, one of the most able generals, north or south, was mortally wounded by friendly fire. It was not that unusual a circumstance.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: Friendly fire (or casualties inflicted by your own side) happens in most combat situations. It is a consequence of warfare and can be very demoralizing. In the heat of battle, correctly distinguishing between friend and foe historically has been difficult.

Spanish Cultural Diversity – III

                Lead:      In 1978 Spain adopted its first post-Franco Constitution. Included was an innovative way of giving regions a certain amount of self-government. In the time since, Spain has created seventeen autonomous communities.


Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: In the run-up to and aftermath of the American Revolution, thirteen independent colonies or states came together to form the United States. The Constitution provides that powers not specifically granted to the federal government were retained by the states. States gave up some of their powers and kept others. The struggle to fix the powers of federal and state governments is one of the great disputes in American history. Spain developed differently. Beginning in the medieval period, the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon conquered Spain and unified its various regions under a strong central royal government. Despite powerful regional aspirations toward some degree of self-government, particularly in Catalonia the area around Barcelona and in the Basque region of the north, central government power nearly always trumped regional or provincial desires.

The Alien and Sedition Acts – III

Lead: Attempting to damage their political enemies, Thomas Jefferson’s Republicans, in 1798 the Federalist majority in Congress put the final nail in their own political coffin.


                Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts


                Content: Anger against France was in the air. War seemed imminent. The people were aroused and the Federalists in Congress, alarmed at the growing power of republican followers of Thomas Jefferson, decided to settle some political scores. They passed and pressed an allegedly reluctant President John Adams to sign, the Alien Acts and the Sedition Act, three of the most reprehensible pieces of legislation in U.S. history. The Alien Acts more than doubled the time immigrants had to live in the U.S. before achieving citizenship and, in addition, allowed the President to unilaterally deport foreigners he considered dangerous. The Sedition Act provided penalties for those convicted of criticizing the U.S., the Congress or the President.

The Alien and Sedition Acts – II

                Lead: With war with France imminent and political emotions at a fever pitch, in 1798 the Federalist majority in Congress went after Thomas Jefferson’s Republicans. They passed the reprehensible Alien and Sedition Acts.


                Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: When war threatens a democracy, one of the first casualties washed away by the people’s anger and fear is rational thought. In World War II perfectly patriotic Japanese Americans were tossed into concentration camps all over the Western United States in careless disregard for their constitutional rights simply to address the irrational fears of the American public. This is a regularly occurring theme in U.S. History.

Alien and Sedition Acts – I

                Lead: During the 1790s, partly in response to war fever, but also as an assault on their political enemies the Republicans, the Federalist majority in Congress passed three of the most reprehensible laws in U.S. History, the Alien Acts and Sedition Act.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: In the history of the United States there are probably only two periods during which the Republic’s survival was seriously threatened. The most obvious time of peril was in the 1860s. There were armies, Southern armies, in the field engaged in open and mutinous rebellion. With Abraham Lincoln determined to prevent a dissolution of the Union and willing to commit arms to that enterprise, the nation decided on the battlefield and with the blood of its children the two great issues of state sovereignty and slavery.