FDR Friendly Conspiracy with the Press

Lead: Few people knew that Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a man of immense energy and enthusiasm, in the prime of life, was crippled by polio.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: FDR was an up-and-coming politician. He had been the Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I, received the Democrat nomination for Vice-president, campaigned vigorously with James M. Cox and with him was buried in the Republican landslide of 1920. Then a painful tragedy struck his life and interrupted his steady political assent. While vacationing on Canada's Campobello Island in August, 1921 he was stricken with a severe case of poliomyelitis, for a time was almost completely paralyzed, and lost the use of his legs.

The Roosevelt Wedding

Lead: In 1905 Franklin Delano Roosevelt married his cousin Eleanor. The guests almost ignored the bride and groom.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Sara Roosevelt was a dominating mother. Hovering over her son, Franklin, Sara at nearly every stage attempted to rule his life with an iron hand. When Frank began his courtship of his cousin Eleanor, Sara put her foot down but her reasons were hard to argue. She could hardly object to the girl on social grounds. As a distant member of the family, Eleanor was orphaned and lived with relatives Manhattan as part of one of first families of New York. If that were not enough, she was the favorite niece of another cousin, President Theodore Roosevelt. Her objections were to their relatively young ages. He was 21, she, 19, and MaMa extracted a promise that the engagement had to be kept secret for a year.

First Ladies: Mary Todd Lincoln II

Lead: Already the subject of much public abuse, Mary Lincoln began to come unglued with the death of the couple’s young son, William.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Not until Eleanor Roosevelt did a First Lady have to endure the carping of critics as did Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the 16th President of the United States. She was vilified as being generous, stingy, energetic, retiring, patriotic and treasonous, all at the same time. But it was the death of her middle son, Willie, which set Mary Lincoln on the path to emotional disintegration. Willie contracted typhoid fever, and died in February 1862. Both of the Lincolns were shattered, but Mary seemed close to mental collapse. She had convulsions, stayed in bed for days, and began attending séances in hopes of making contact with him.

First Ladies: Mary Todd Lincoln I

Lead: Mary Lincoln was the first Presidential wife to be center of ill-deserved, widespread, and sometimes bitter controversy.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: When Mary came with her husband to Washington, the city was gloomy with the prospect of civil war. Lincoln’s election in November had provoked the deep South to secession. She was hopeful that she and her husband might help reduce tension, but she was disappointed. Not until Eleanor Roosevelt was a First Lady subjected to the abuse Mary Lincoln was forced to endure.

Presidential Wit: Richard Nixon

Lead: Humor is the ready partner of many successful politicians, but humor never came easy to Richard Nixon. He succeeded largely without it.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: To evaluate the wit of Richard Nixon is difficult. There is Watergate. There is a widespread but inaccurate perception that Nixon had no humor at all. His sense of humor was real, but it reflected the darkness of his emotional apparatus, the demons and hostility that plagued him.

First Ladies: Lou Henry Hoover

Lead: Married to one of the most reviled and revered Presidents in U.S. history, Lou Henry Hoover considered it a privilege to stand in his shadow.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Lou Henry was a banker’s daughter and met her husband the future President in the laboratory of their favorite Stanford Professor, geologist John Casper Branner. He was shy but they hit it off right away and shortly after he graduated, Lou and Herb Hoover were informally engaged.

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The Mason-Dixon Line

Lead: The most famous boundary in United States history originated in a eighty year dispute between two colonies.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of last parts of Colonial Maryland along the Chesapeake Bay to attract settlers was northeast of present day Baltimore. The soil was there heavier and not as hospitable to the growth of tobacco as in the southern reaches of the Bay. This area was good for the cultivation of wheat and corn and as trade with the hungry West Indies expanded, the area began to draw more development. Unfortunately, this brought Maryland into conflict with Pennsylvania. Lord Baltimore's charter promised Maryland land up to the fortieth parallel which in 1632 was the southern border of New England, but in the meantime the government in London had made other promises particularly to William Penn and by the 1730s it was obvious that these grants were in conflict with the Maryland charter. For instance the principal city of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, was significantly south of the fortieth parallel.

The Smoke-Filled Room II

Lead: Nominated on the ballot in a previously dead-locked convention, rumors began to spread that the choice of Warren Gamaliel Harding at the 1920 Republican Convention was brokered in a smoke-filled room.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In early 1920, months before the convention, Harry M. Dougherty, Harding's campaign manager, seeing the possibility of a dead-lock between front-runners Leonard Wood and Frank Lowden, engaged in a little political speculation which probably gave birth to the myth of the smoke-filled room. He said in an interview, "I don't expect Senator Harding to be nominated on the first, second or third ballot, but I think ... that about eleven minutes after two o'clock on Friday morning at the convention, ...fifteen or twenty men, somewhat weary, ...sitting around a table, ...one of them will say: 'Who will we nominate?' At that decisive time the friends of Senator Harding can suggest him." It was pure speculation but of such are myths born.