J Edgar Hoover II

Lead: As director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover guided the Bureau into an organized, accountable, and well-schooled police and detective agency. What he did in secret was another matter entirely.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Hoover established the FBI academy at Quantico, Virginia, and through its training facility set high standards for performance, intelligence, and physical ability. He began the first systematic collection of fingerprints for the purpose of crime detection.

Yet, he maintained a life-long pursuit of people he considered suspect, Bolsheviks after World War I, Nazis, members of the Communist Party and suspected sympathizers during the 1940s and 1950s. When he encountered resistance to his tactics in the Executive Branch during the Truman Administration, he sought and found allies in Congress, such as members of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

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J Edgar Hoover I

Lead: Revered, reviled and feared, J. Edgar Hoover rose from a law clerk and file reviewer to help establish and then for decades direct the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: He started in the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation which was in 1917 little more than a detective agency. By 1924 Hoover was its director and under his leadership, the newly renamed FBI became the model of police organization, forensic science, and accountability for local and state police forces in both America and later the world. In the process, he gained a reputation for some as a champion of the American way of life and for others a villainous usurper of constitutional rights.

Hoover spent his whole life in Washington. He was born 1895 in his family’s white and black Victorian home at 413 Seward Square, a 5-minute walk from the Capitol. The neighborhood was white, middle class, Protestant and segregated.

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Prohibition: A Noble Experiment II

Lead: Prohibition, the noble attempt by reformers and religious activists to shut down demon rum foundered on the only unrepealable historical law, that of unintended consequences.,

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Though Puritans largely failed in their attempt to establish a godly commonwealth set on a Massachusetts hill in the 17th century, their efforts have left a residual reformist inclination in the American social experiment. Shorn of the overtly theological emphasis of the Puritans, much that passes for reform in America still retains a measure of that Puritan predisposition to create a perfect society. One way to do this is by reforming the behavior of naughty, licentious adults. Such an approach has the unfortunate result of nearly always failing. Adult human beings, inclined by nature to do what they want to do, resist attempts by religious zealots to make them into better people.

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Prohibition: A Noble Experiment I

Lead: For nearly a decade and a half, the United States imposed a noble social experiment on its citizens. As with most such attempts at modifying the behavior of adults, Prohibition was an unmitigated disaster.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Beginning in the middle of the 1800s, an alliance of social reformers and some evangelical Christians, began to agitate for an end to the manufacture, distribution, and consumption of alcohol. Working through such pressure groups as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Anti-Saloon League, the Prohibition Party, and eventually within both major political parties, slowly but surely public opinion was won over to an attempt to restrict liquor and beer at the local and state level. This campaign reached its height of success in 1919 with the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and accompanying enforcement legislation, the Volstead Act.

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Pledge of Allegiance II

Lead: The so-called Pledge of Allegiance, a salute to the American flag for school children, written in 1892, has been modified and is the source of controversy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Pledge was first published in a youth magazine. The salute was recited by school children across America on Columbus Day 1892 as part of a nationwide celebration of the 400th anniversary of the explorer’s epic first voyage to the New World. The Pledge was not at first credited with an author, but in subsequent years Baptist minister and editor Francis Bellamy was determined to have penned the simple and succinct expression of devotion to flag and nation. In 1939 the United States Flag Association reviewed the evidence and determined that Bellamy was indeed the author of the pledge, and in 1957 this was confirmed by the Library of Congress.

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Pledge of Allegiance I

Lead: In September 1892, Baptist minister Francis Bellamy published his simple flag salute for school children. Designed to recognize Columbus’ voyage, today it is known as the Pledge of Allegiance.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Francis Bellamy, cousin of American novelist Edward Bellamy, was part of the Christian Socialist movement in the late 19th century. Born in Mount Morris, New York, in 1855, he was educated at the University of Rochester and Rochester Theological Seminary and entered the Baptist ministry in 1879. Twelve years later, Bellamy became an editor for a popular and widely circulated Boston magazine—The Youth’s Companion.

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Mr. Justice Story and Federal Power

Lead: One of the important issues left for future resolution by those who crafted the U.S. Constitution in 1787 was the balance of power within the federal scheme. Mr. Justice Joseph Story helped clear up that issue.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Joseph Story was perhaps the most brilliant legal mind of his generation. He grew up in Massachusetts, studied at Harvard, read for the law, and worked his way up the ladder of Commonwealth politics while gaining the reputation as a Jeffersonian Republican. Some of his political colleagues, Jefferson included, suspected that Story was really a closeted federalist, whose sentiments, once released on the federal level, would resolve the hanging question of sovereignty against the states. It turned out they were correct.

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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.

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