The Great Eastern

Lead: In November, 1857, Isambard Kingdom Brunel tried to launch his magnificent creation. Great Eastern, the heaviest object anyone had ever attempted to move, got stuck.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Brunel was one of the most successful engineers of his day. He constructed what was at that time, the world’s longest tunnel, several unusual railroad bridges, and finally, Great Eastern. Conceived as the first luxury liner, the ship was designed to carry 4,000 passengers in complete comfort, haul enough coal for a non-stop round-trip from England to Australia, and earn her inventors’ money back in a couple of years. No such luck. No profit was ever made with Great Eastern.

Texas Invades New Mexico

Lead: After independence the new Republic of Texas experienced some acute growing pains.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836. The disaster of the Alamo was soon followed by the defeat of Mexican General Santa Anna at San Jacinto. Sam Houston's experience as Governor of Tennessee and popularity as the architect of Texas' victory carried him into the Presidency of the New Republic.

Patrick Henry and the Parson’s Cause II

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Having secured the support of the English Privy Council in striking down a Virginia statute that sought to relieve debtors facing ruin because of a spike in tobacco prices caused by drought, several Anglican clergymen set Virginian teeth on edge by suing to have their salaries paid at the full market rate, drought and inflation be damned. Their efforts were turned aside in two cases, but that of the most Rev. Mr. James Maury of Louisa County received favorable judgment from the court who then referred the case to a jury for a determination of the damages.

Patrick Henry and the Parson’s Cause I

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Patrick Henry was a new man, often referred to in the early years of his storied career as a “young man,” this in contrast to the older leaders of the Commonwealth that hailed from the first families of Virginia. When his rich, powerful rhetorical abilities carried him to fame during the Stamp Act Crisis in 1765, he was already famous, a brilliant speaker, but many of his elders considered him pretty much an upstart lawyer from Louisa County out in the Virginia heartland. His reputation and fame came from many court proceedings but largely as a result of a famous court case known as the Parson’s Cause.

 

Alaska’s Great Shock

Lead: Five years after it became the 49th state, Alaska experienced the shock of a lifetime.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: On March 27, 1964 at 5:36 in the afternoon, North America's greatest recorded earthquake shattered the towns of Anchorage, Valdez, and Kodiak, Alaska. Measuring between 8.3 and 8.6 on the Richter scale and lasting for three remarkable minutes, the Great Alaska Earthquake released twice as much energy as the earthquake that destroyed San Francisco in 1906. Hundreds of homes and structures were blown apart, and the town of Valdez was inundated by a huge tidal wave.

American Revolution: Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer III

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In 1767 Philadelphia lawyer John Dickinson began a series of essays decrying the Townshend taxes on lead, glass, paper, and tea passed by Parliament not long after it repealed the Stamp Tax. The essays were published in serial form in newspapers all across America and were called Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (1767-1768). He was clear that he opposed the tax scheme because of its violation of the British Constitution’s prohibition of taxing people not represented in Parliament, but he did it such a mild, gentle, submissive fashion that it failed to spark a plan of action though it did probably provide some level of satisfaction to Americans already weary of the continuing conflict between Britain and its North American colonies.

Read more →

American Revolution: Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer II

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In his long political career, Philadelphia lawyer and Delaware planter John Dickinson demonstrated a consistent moderation that often spoke to the heart of American popular sentiment which often reflected fatigue in the long decades of revolutionary upheaval, dispute and war. He drafted the ultimately ineffective Articles of Confederation (1776) and then joined in calls for a stronger central government, represented Delaware at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and then worked for the passage of the Constitution. In the debates on independence he held out the hope for reconciliation with Great Britain and refused to sign the Declaration, but he was not a coward. He became the only founding father to manumit or free his slaves in the years between 1776 and 1787, a dangerous and potentially destructive act of moral and political courage.

Read more →

American Revolution: Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer I

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In many ways the Stamp Act crisis of 1765-1766 was exhausting for Americans. The riots, petitions, newspaper arguments, endless debate, and economic dislocation caused by the drop-off in trade was bad enough. Even worse were the peculiar and uncomfortable emotions generated by this new and disquieting estrangement from Britain. This negative political energy produced a sense of confusion and weariness. And when Parliament proved its determination to force its will on the issue of taxation by passing a new round of import duties, the Townshend Acts, Americans were slow in reacting. There seemed to be a genuine doubt in some circles as to whether these taxes were in technical violation of the principle that had aroused such resentment and opposition during the previous year. Clearly many Americans were tired of the conflict and wished it to go away. Into this uncertainty stepped a heretofore unknown voice, Philadelphia lawyer, John Dickinson.

Read more →