James Oglethorpe and the Founding of Georgia – I

Lead: The founding of the North American English colony of Georgia emerged from the happy confluence of political shrewdness and personal dedication in the life of James Edward Oglethorpe.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: What would become the Royal colony of Georgia got its start because of social problems in the mother country and a serious military threat to Britain’s interests in North America. The mid-wife to the colony’s birth was James Oglethorpe. One of the interesting features of liability law in England during the 1700s was the power of a creditor over a debtor. A creditor was permitted by law to take possession of the debtor’s body. If you owed a debt and could not pay it, your creditor could throw you in jail until you paid. Not surprisingly, prisons were filled with people whose only crime was that they had fallen on hard times and could not pay their bills. Studies of prison conditions at the time revealed pitiful stories of corrupt judges and prison officials, bribery, extortion, brutality, and disease. If they survived and were released, these so-called debtor criminals had little hope of a decent or productive life.

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Silas Deane and Arthur Lee Dispute – II

Lead:  The events surrounding the recall of Silas Deane in 1778 revealed the first public exposure of political and personal divisions among the leaders of the new American Republic. Congress began airing its dirty linen and hasn’t stopped since.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Connecticut native Silas Deane had been in Paris during the early months of 1776 sent by Congress to open trade, buy munitions for the Army on credit, and work for French recognition of American independence. He was very successful in large part because the government of Louis XVI was looking for a path of revenge against Britain for France’s losses in the Seven Years War, which ended in 1763. Even before the crucial Battle of Saratoga, New York in 1777 demonstrated that the Americans might just pull off this Revolution, a supposedly neutral France secretly sent supplies to help.

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Silas Deane-Arthur Lee Dispute – I

Lead: In the mid-1770s, the dispute, principled and personal, between Silas Deane and Arthur Lee illustrated sectional and political tensions that helped define public policy in the infant American Republic.

            Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

            Content: As the thirteen colonies of British North America began to consider breaking away from the mother country, the problems threatening this enterprise were daunting. Britain was the most powerful political and military force on the globe. Those colonials advocating separation were clearly in the minority. Heavy industry was almost non-existent and the colonies’ fountainhead of wealth flowed out of the very nation from which they sought separation. America needed alternative avenues of trade and, above all it needed an ally.

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Moscow Show Trials III

Lead: The Moscow Show Trials in the 1930s were just the public feature of the Great Purge that eliminated all opposition in the Soviet Union to the totalitarian dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: The public trials were the outward display of a widespread elimination of potential dissidents from Soviet society.  The secret police, under Stalin’s personal direction, received the power of summary execution of anyone. This power was essential because the evidence in the trials was pried from the prisoners by torture and intimidation. Old Bolsheviks such as Yevseyevich Zinovyev, Lev Kamenev and Nicholai Buhkarin were forced to confess, convicted of crimes they most certainly did not commit, and then executed. Yet the real damage to Soviet society was done in secret. Mensheviks, revolutionaries, foreign engineers, Trotskyites, parasites, spies were simply hauled out of their homes and shot. It was death by category, anyone who had a memory or dared to profess independent thought was eliminated. Then Stalin turned on the Red Army. When the generals refused to cooperate and confess he had them executed in the summer of 1937.

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Moscow Show Trials – II

            Lead: During the late 1930s in a series of Show Trials and secret trials and executions Josef Stalin at last eliminated all opposition to his personal domination of political life in the Soviet Union.

            Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

            Content: Having eliminated his rivals in the Politburo and crushed resistance to agricultural collectivization through the Terror Famine in which as many as 15 million peasants were either starved or slaughtered, Joseph began to find himself under quiet attack from within the party. In 1932 his critics began circulating a long and detailed critique of his economic policies and incompetent leadership. Stalin struck back and directed the secret police to find out who wrote the document, determined who had even read the document and purge them all from the party. In 1934, Serge Kirov, the party boss in Leningrad and a rising star in party politics was assassinated, probably by agents of Stalin. The dictator used the crisis as an excuse for a severe nation-wide cleansing, that has come to be known as the Great Purge.

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Moscow Show Trials – I

Lead: To eliminate opposition to his personal domination of the Communist party indeed, all of the Soviet state, Stalin perfected a new twentieth century art form: the show trial.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: V.I. Lenin, author of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet state, after a series of incapacitating strokes, died in January 1924. Already the struggle for succession was under way. This struggle would last until the eve of World War II. The leading candidate for leadership was Leon Trotsky, but Trotsky had problems. He was not a modest man, was a relatively late convert to Bolshevism, and his strong ties to the Red Army, which he had sculpted nearly from scratch in the early 1920s, made the rest of the party clan very nervous. His chief rival was Josef Vissarionovich Stalin, who, after abandoning seminary preparation for the Orthodox priesthood, made his initial mark in party circles as a bank robber. Lenin had given Stalin charge over the central party machinery and the Georgian bureaucrat took to this less than desirable task with relish. He gradually came to dominate the secret police and re-shaped the party in his own image, removing allies of his rivals and installing his own supporters in places of authority.

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Nancy Randolph – III

Lead: After a sensational Virginia trial in the spring of 1793, aristocrats Richard Randolph and his young sister in law, Nancy Randolph, were acquitted of the murder of her newborn baby.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: The two were accused of adultery and a brutal act of infanticide to conceal an incestuous affair. Pleading the defense were former Governor Patrick Henry of “Give me liberty or give me death,” fame, and Randolph family cousin John Marshall, who later became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Randolph family members testified both for and against the defendants. Much of the testimony involved intimations that Nancy and Richard had an intimate relationship, but the most critical evidence was never brought to light. Virginia law prohibited slaves from testifying against whites, and it was plantation slaves who allegedly tended to Nancy while she was in labor and discovered the corpse of a white baby on the woodpile. Since no white person or member of the Randolph family testified they had ever seen a baby’s corpse, the charges were dropped.

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Nancy Randolph – II

Lead: In spring 1793, a sensational trial packed the Cumberland County courthouse. The accused were first family Virginians – Randolphs – Nancy and her brother-in-law Richard. They were accused of adultery and murder.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Richard and Nancy Randoph were first cousins, descendants of the same family of wealthy Virginia tobacco planters. Nancy lost her mother as a young girl and settled with her older sister Judith and Judith’s husband Richard at “Bizarre,” one of the Randolph family plantations on the Appomattox River near Farmville.

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