1924 Democratic Convention II

Lead: The American humorist, Will Rogers, said "The Democrats are the only known race of people that give a dinner and fight over it. No job is ever too small for them to split over." He surely must have been speaking of the 1924 Party Convention in New York.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By all rights the Democrats should have been hot prospects in the election of 1924. They had enjoyed impressive results in the congressional returns of 1922. The Republicans had been scarred by the scandals of the Harding administration and had as their candidate the competent but dull and uninspiring President Calvin Coolidge.

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1924 Democratic Convention I

Lead: With the possibility of returning to power clearly at hand, the Democratic Party in 1924 went to New York City to pick a Presidential nominee. In 14 hot muggy summer days the Democrats nearly committed suicide.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The peculiar election system of the United States requires a Presidential candidate to assemble a majority of votes in the Electoral College. This is one of the most important reasons why a huge and diverse society such as the United States has only two major political parties. Instead of a splintered system with dozens of small parties such as in many European nations, the system is prejudiced toward two broadly based, umbrella-like parties that force political groups to work together to achieve that magic number in the electoral college. This tendency is also reflected in state and local elections.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Democratic Convention of 1860 IV

Lead: The Democratic Party split at its meeting in 1860 and for a time the Southern port city of Charleston played host to two Conventions.

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

Content: The immediate cause of the division was the insistence of deep South states that the Party Platform must contain a slave code, guaranteeing that neither the Federal government nor territories that had not become states could interfere with slavery. If the code was missing, they were authorized to walk out of the Convention. The Platform Committee brought in two reports. The majority report included the slave code. The committee minority, allied with the front-runner, Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, produced a platform stating that the decision about slavery in the territories had to be made by the people who lived there. There was no slave code. Douglas knew that he could not be elected with the slave code. Northern states would have nothing to do with it.

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