Admiral Grace Hopper – Teaching Computers to Speak

Lead: When Grace Hopper got into the business in 1944, the number of people who had ever heard the word computer could not fill a small room. She stayed with it until she died.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content:. When the United States was sucked into World War II, Vassar College Professor Grace Murray Hopper could have avoided military service. She had a Yale PhD and was in a vital profession, a college math teacher barred from military service, but Grace Hopper loved the U.S. Navy. Her great-grandfather had been a rear admiral, and she battered the doors down and finished first in her midshipman class. The Navy wanted her mind, specifically, her ability to calculate and help operate the new generation of mechanical calculators that would be required if modern weapons were to reach their destructive potential.

George Washington Rains and Confederate Gunpowder – II

Lead: During the Civil War, the Confederacy faced serious challenges, not the least of which was having no source of gunpowder. To solve that problem they turned to George Washington Rains.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: The key ingredient in gunpowder is saltpeter, the general name for three naturally occurring nitrates, the most common in North America being potassium nitrate. Called by some niter, it was combined with sulfur and charcoal, and together they were rolled, pressed crushed, granulated and dried in a process that was conducted almost nowhere in large quantities in the South prior to 1861. To defend itself the Confederacy would have to solve that problem. Ordinance chief Josiah Gorgas appointed Artillery major George Washington Rains, third in his West Point class, and who had served with distinction in the Mexican War.


George Washington Rains and Confederate Gunpowder – I

Lead: When it became clear that the Federal government would not permit the South to depart without a fight in 1861, one of the most pressing needs of the newly formed Confederacy was gunpowder.


Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


Content: Despite its wealth of leadership and agricultural resources, the South in the 1860s, was ill equipped to fight a war. What ordinance it had was confiscated from Federal arsenals in Confederate territory and was not nearly enough to prosecute the major campaigns that lay ahead. Few foundries could roll the iron that would be required.  The South had provided mostly raw agricultural products to the factories of the North and the industrial mills of Europe. That it was able to field numerous armies, a credible naval effort, and a war machine that held the North at bay for the better part of three full years is a testimony to the raw talent, dedication, and energy of its leaders, the many sacrifices of its white population, and, at least at first, the vigor of its free blacks and slaves. Yet in the end, the South had been bled dry, overwhelmed by the industrial might and superior numbers the North could bring to the conflict.

Spanish Armada – III

Lead: Clearly provoked by English policy, in 1588 Philip II of Spain sent a large fleet to support an invasion of southern England. It turned out not to be much of an Armada and was certainly not invincible.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: By 1585 Philip was convinced that in order to break English economic, diplomatic and military power and to restore Catholicism to England, he would need to mount an invasion. As it evolved, here was the plan. The Spanish would assemble a fleet of warships filled with supplies and troops, sail to Flanders in what is modern day Belgium, secure the Straits of Dover from English naval interference, screen the transport across the English Channel of 30,000 troops under the command of the Duke of Parma, vice-regent of the Spanish Netherlands, and support the invasion. From the beginning, almost everything went wrong.

Spanish Armada – II

Lead: In 1588 Spain sent a powerful fleet to support an invasion of southern England. Despite English propaganda to the contrary, this action was clearly provoked by the government of English Queen Elizabeth I.


                Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: In the early days of her rule, one of Elizabeth’s best friends was King Philip II of Spain. He had been the husband of her sister and predecessor, Mary Tudor. He hoped that Elizabeth would continue Mary’s policy of Catholic restoration and, perhaps, even accept his hand in a powerful dynastic and diplomatic marriage. By 1560, however, it was clear Elizabeth desired a modified Protestantism for England and that she was toying with Philip’s affections just as she would every man who sought, by winning her heart, to compromise her power and capture her kingdom.

Spanish Armada – I

Lead: By the mid-1580s Philip II of Spain had had enough. He determined to destroy his heretical sister-in-law Elizabeth and bring her backward, troublesome little island kingdom to heel.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: Philip of Spain always had high hopes for Elizabeth. He had, after all, been her brother-in-law, married to Mary Tudor, her older sister. Mary’s rule was short, however, and the queen died before she and Philip could produce the Catholic heir that might, over time, have restored stubborn England to the true faith. Philip didn’t like the English and they returned the compliment. Nevertheless, he hoped that when Mary died and Elizabeth took her place in 1558, he might win her hand and continue to pull England back out of Protestantism. A marriage would also maintain the European balance of power thus keeping France at a diplomatic disadvantage. Unfortunately, Elizabeth understood that marriage to Philip would drag England into continental disputes on the side of Spain, but more importantly, insure her power as a female ruler would be compromised in a marriage. Therefore, she paried Philip’s advances as she did the long line of suitors that tried to ensnare her heart and her throne.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Prophet of Colonialism – III

Lead: It lost its first empire in North America with the American Revolution and there was trouble in other possessions. To bring order and imperial stability, Britain turned to the ideas Edward Gibbon Wakefield.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: His reputation and career destroyed by a conviction for kidnapping of a prospective bride, three years in London’s Newgate Prison changed the life of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. He took on capital punishment and his writings helped bring the end to the death penalty in England, but it was on colonialism that he made his greatest contribution.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield Prophet of Colonialism – II

Lead: His prison term changed Edward Gibbon Wakefield from a self-indulgent dilettante to one of Britain’s most perceptive social critics. He helped fashion the world’s largest colonial empire.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: While imprisoned for kidnapping a rich 15-year old heiress in order to marry her and thus further his fortune and political career, Edward Wakefield was awakened to a different world. He met fellow inmates sentenced to death for minor crimes such as sheep stealing and forgery. Wakefield was so incensed that he composed a brilliant critique of the contemporary use of the death penalty. Facts Relating to the Punishment of Death, like all but one of his major works, was published anonymously to avoid diminished impact because of his own sorry reputation. It received enthusiastic reviews and helped build support for the elimination of the death penalty in England.