Presidential Wit: Abraham Lincoln

Lead: Of the weapons available to the politician, among the most powerful is humor. No one was better at wielding that weapon than Abraham Lincoln.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Few politicians can survive if they become an object of laughter and ridicule. On the other hand, those seeking office who have the ability to use humor as a weapon against opponents or as a means of giving themselves a more sympathetic and down-to-earth image, go a long way to winning the support and perhaps the affection of the electorate. A sense of humor is not required for election, but it helps, both to soften the blow of losing or, even better, to keep political success in correct perspective.

President Grover Cleveland Under the Knife

Lead: In the summer of 1893, with the country in a financial panic, President Grover Cleveland underwent a secret cancer operation.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As both Governor of New York and President, Cleveland had a reputation as a corruption fighter and political independent. He was the only United States President elected to two nonconsecutive terms in 1884 and then again in 1892 and the first Democrat in the White House since James Buchanan in 1856. Under the President who served between Cleveland's terms, Benjamin Harrison, Congress had passed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Western farmers were in favor of this believing that with more money in circulation, loans would be cheaper and life easier for the average American. The problem was that the government had to buy silver with treasury gold causing reserves to drop below the $100,000,000 required by law. People panicked and began to demand gold in exchange for paper money. Banks failed in this the so-called Panic of 1893 and the country was thrown into a short but violent economic depression.


Cover-up in the Wilson White House

Lead: In the middle of an epic battle over the League of Nations, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a major stroke. His true condition was covered up for months.

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

                Content: As one of the principal architects of the post-World War I peace, Woodrow Wilson believed that the key to future international harmony was an effective League of Nations. To overcome political resistance to the League Treaty, Wilson embarked on a nation-wide tour, 8000 miles, 40 speeches to wildly enthusiastic crowds.  The tide was shifting in favor of the League. On September 25, 1919 at Pueblo, Colorado, he collapsed following a speech. Almost immediately his train returned to Washington where on the morning of October 2nd he suffered a massive stroke paralyzing his left side. It was clear within hours that he was totally incapable of carrying out his duties. Wilson’s health had been problematic since his youth and had gradually deteriorated, but his determination and frequent periods of rest had held serious sickness in check. This time it did not.

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The Election of 1800 – III

Lead: In 1800 Thomas Jefferson defeated incumbent President John Adams in a closely fought election that brought what some have called third American Revolution.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: Adams was swept into office in 1796 on the basis of his revolutionary credentials and with the support of the Federalists. He did not like political parties and many in his party did not like him or felt him insufficiently supportive of party principles, thus he revealed his political ineptitude in a changing political environment. He was not a naturally popular person and took positions that made matters worse. He kept the nation out of a declared war with competing European powers, particularly France, but did so in such a way as to offend the national honor. ‘Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute,’ was on the lips and minds of many voters. A low-grade naval war with France kept the pot boiling and, in the summer of 1798, with pro-war sentiment at a fever pitch, he signed into law the Alien Acts and the Sedition Act. Aliens deemed dangerous by the government could be deported with little due process even in peacetime, and those who published “malicious” statements about Congress or the President that were judged seditious were liable for heavy punishment. Newspapers editors were being thrown into jail for political criticism.

The Election of 1800 – II

Lead: The US presidential election of 1800 has been called the third, or political American Revolution. For the first time in a major way competition in American electoral life was organized by political parties.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: In 1796 John Adams laid his claim to the Presidency. In revolutionary credentials and early driving support for independence, only Washington, Franklin and Jefferson equaled this lawyer/farmer from Baintree, Massachusetts. He beat Jefferson by three electoral votes and for four years continued the rule of the Federalists, that lose network of merchants, bankers, aristocrats and politicians seeking to firmly establish the national or common interest as opposed to state or local interests and to secure the Federal government as pre-imminent in national affairs.

The Election of 1800 – I

Lead: In 1800 Thomas Jefferson was elected President of the United States in a close contest that some have come to see as the third American Revolution.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: If 1776 marked the beginning of the America’s military revolution, if crafting the nation’s charter in 1787 marked America’s constitutional revolution, a case can be made that the election of 1800 marked America’s political revolution. The first secured national independence, the second dealt with burgeoning governmental chaos, the third established a means of managing the nation’s competing impulses with the introduction of political parties. Each was necessary in setting the Republic’s foundation and building the structure of its future prosperity.

McKinley Assassination – Part II

Lead:  At the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York Anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinated the President of the United States William McKinley. He found it was very easy to do it.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Not yet a year into his second term as President, William McKinley was engaged in a running battle with the Secret Service. Less than a year had passed since a plot to kill the President had been uncovered. No matter how hard they argued he refused to allow his guard to be increased or to change his schedule of appearances. One of the most important events of the year was the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo. It was a celebration of the progress of America with numerous technological exhibits drawing thousands of visitors from around the country. September 5th was Presidents Day with 115,000 paid admissions and a crowd of 50,000 gathered to hear the President in the main plaza. His speech was a general one filled with boilerplate references to the advantages of the American economic and industrial system and a plea for peace among nations.

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McKinley Assassination – Part I

Lead:  On September 4, 1901, Leon Czolgosz (chol-gosh) joined the crowd queuing to shake hands with the President of the United States William McKinley. His right was wrapped as if wounded. The hand contained a gun.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Leon Czolgosz was born in Detroit in 1873. As an adult while employed in a Cleveland, Ohio wire mill he became fascinated with radical politics, particularly anarchism. Anarchists were at base libertarian socialists, they wanted a society based on the voluntary cooperation of free individuals. In general, they were hostile to the leadership class, rejected government and private property. Many anarchists spoke the language of violence and were willing to use it.

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