The Election of 1980- I

Lead:  The presidential election of 1980 is often called a “realignment election,” one of several in United States history. It represented a dramatic shift in political power.        

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: A “realignment election” is a plebiscite on the current party or philosophy dominating the national conversation. The American people decide they want to choose a new direction. These elections, 1800, 1828, 1860, 1896, 1932, and perhaps 1980, demonstrate a shift in political orientation due to new geographic bases of power and/or new philosophical coalitions. This change or “realignment” of political power results in a new status quo and resonates in the political climate for decades. For example, historians generally agree that the presidential election of 1932 was a classic realignment election. An alliance of interest groups - labor unions, racial and ethnic minorities, and white southerners – united behind the Democratic Party and the policies of FDR and dominated U.S. politics for the next fifty years - from the New Deal to the Great Society.

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Samuel Johnson and the Enlightenment in England

Lead:  Samuel Johnson lived during the European Enlightenment and therefore believed that ideas should be expressed freely. He once said, “The chief glory of every people arises from its authors.”

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With roots in the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, Enlightenment thinking advocated the use of reason to challenge existing doctrines and traditions. The result: significant reforms in government, religion, economics, philosophy and education and important advances in humanist principles – freedom, individual rights, liberty and equality. 

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Samuel Johnson: Alleviating Poverty

Lead:  Samuel Johnson, like many of his contemporary British writers, struggled with poverty while establishing his career. He later wrote of those years with a mixture of warning and compassion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: “Resolve not to be poor: whatever you have, spend less. Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult.”

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Richard Byrd to the North Pole II

Lead:  For decades Richard Evelyn Byrd was credited as being the first to fly to over the North Pole. It was his lifetime dream, but in recent years scholarly skepticism regarding his claim has begun to cast doubt on his achievement.   

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in 1888 in Winchester, Virginia Richard Evelyn Byrd had aristocratic roots stretching back to the early days of Virginia, and if one considers his maternal ancestor Pocahontas, further than that. His brother was Governor and Senator Harry Flood Byrd, who for four decades dominated state politics through his political creation, the Byrd machine. An adventurous child, Byrd as a young man was captured by the possibility of exploring the poles among the few remaining virgin areas on the planet. He served as a Naval Squadron Commander during WWI and became a naval aviator in 1918. In 1925 Byrd helped lead a scientific expedition to Greenland sponsored by Navy and the National Geographic Society.

Richard Byrd to the North Pole I

Lead: In the early twentieth century explorers, scientists, and aviators responded to the challenge to explore the ends of the earth. One brave and ambitious adventurer was Richard Evelyn Byrd.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: During the early twentieth century nations planned and funded expeditions to two of the last remaining unexplored regions on the planet – the North Pole and the South Pole. These last great prizes became a competition to see who could get there first and claim the honor for their nation. The footrace to the North Pole was won by American Robert Peary in 1909, although there is controversy among experts about whether Peary actually was the first or just simply reached the coordinates of the pole. In 1911, Norwegian Roald Amundsen claimed the South Pole in an historic competition which resulted in tragedy for the British team that dogged him close behind.

Oscar Peterson

Lead:  Oscar Peterson, the Canadian piano virtuoso, made a surprise appearance at Carnegie Hall on September 18, 1949. It was his debut. He dazzled the audience.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the finest jazz pianists of the twentieth century, Oscar Peterson was born in Montreal in 1925. His father was a railroad porter, a self-taught pianist, who insisted that the five Peterson children take classical piano lessons. For Oscar it became far more than a chore. He recalled stealing out of bed to the downstairs radio and holding his head close to the speaker so as to not awake his parents, engrossed as he was by the sounds of Ellington and Basie and the like.

U.S. Mid-term Elections of 1946

Lead:  Although the Democrats, led by Harry S. Truman, lost both Houses of Congress during the mid-term elections of 1946, Truman skillfully used the Republican majority to his benefit – and won the 1948 presidential election.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt four months into his fourth term on April 12, 1945, barely-known Vice-president Harry S. Truman of Missouri became President. He stepped into the shoes of one many assumed was a giant. During Roosevelt’s presidency, Republicans had been unable to gain control of Congress.

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Samuel Johnson and the Scots

Lead:  One of the regular targets of the wit of Samuel Johnson, eighteenth century England’s man of letters, were the Scots. He once said, The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees is the high road that leads him to England.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content:  Since 1603 England and Scotland had been governed by the same monarch, yet relations were often strained and Scotland remained an independent state until the Act of Union in 1707 merged the two states as the United Kingdom of Great Britain. It is from that point that the two nations were merged and became British rather than English or Scottish. Over the next century, Britain surged ahead of the world in industrial development, established its dominance over the sea lanes, built and lost its first empire, and grew itself into the wealthiest power in the world with London as the worldwide center of commerce, trade and culture.

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