America’s Revolution: First Continental Congress I

 

Lead: In early spring 1774, the British Parliament, angered over colonial insubordination, passed a series of acts that would prove the law of unintended consequences. They would ignite a revolution.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Just before Christmas the previous year in Boston harbor, colonial agitators, disguised as Native Americans, removed thousands of pounds of British East India Company Tea from cargo holds and threw them in the water. The Company was in debt and needed a political boost. It was able to persuade Parliament to permit the sale of tea direct to American consumers, thereby undercutting local merchants. A tiny little import tax was assigned to the tea. Thus followed the Boston Tea Party. This act of defiance sent the House of Commons into a rage and in retaliation it passed what was known in America as the Coercive or Intolerable Acts. The port of Boston was closed until restitution was paid British East India, the independent legislative  powers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts were restricted, British officials, arrested in America, were removed from colonial jurisdiction and transported to England for trial, and colonials were required to quarter royal troops in their homes.

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Jamestown Journey – England and Virginia, the Bands that Break II

Lead: Unrest in the early 1770’s in Virginia quickly grew into full-scale rebellion. Yet, Parliament would not relent.

Intro.: Dan Roberts and A Moment in Time with Jamestown - Journey of Democracy, tracing the global advance of democratic ideals since the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

Content: In response to the “tea parties” in Virginia and particularly Boston, the British Parliament in the Spring of 1774 passed the Massachussetts Government Act, the Administration of Justice Act, the Boston Port Act, and the Quartering Act, known collectively as the “Intolerable Acts”. While the Acts were most harshly laid on Boston, many Virginians saw the attack as a thinly disguised assault on all colonial freedoms. Fiery young Virginia Burgesses, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Richard Henry Lee, led the House in adopting strong resolutions against the Acts. In response an angry Governor Dunmore dissolved the General Assembly.

 

 

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America’s Revolution: Taxation Without Representation 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: Severe financial burdens resulting from British involvement in the French and Indian War caused the government in London to seek revenues from the thirteen North American colonies, essentially to pay for a peaceful frontier and oceans free for colonial commerce. Surprisingly there were calls by some in Britain proposing colonial representation in Parliament. Adam Smith, Edmund Burke and for a time, Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania’s representative in London, advocated some form of Colonial seats in the commons, but these proposals went nowhere and were not revived until long after the beginning of open hostilities in the late 1770s. Ironically, American radicals ultimately squelched the idea of colonial representation. They were convinced that if there were Americans seated at Westminster, there would be no restraint on Parliamentary enthusiasm for draining colonial pockets. Better to argue that Parliament had no right to tax the colonies, period.

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America’s Revolution: Taxation Without Representation 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: One of the important catalysts of the American Revolution was the French and Indian War and the crushing financial burden the war laid upon Great Britain. By 1763 the national debt was in excess of 120 million pounds, much of it expended to protect the North American colonies and take Canada from the French. The British people were being squeezed dry to pay for the war. The government of King George III thought it reasonable to tax the colonies to pay for their own defense. This was not an unreasonable course of action. Boston, even with a population of only 15,000, was the third largest port in terms of shipping tonnage in the English speaking world, behind Bristol and London. The British Navy made that trade possible and Americans contributed not one pound to naval support.

America’s Revolution: Taxation Without Representation 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: It is hard to believe, but as late as 1770 most people living in the colonies of North America thought of themselves as loyal subjects of the British Crown. Except for a few radicals, most Americans considered themselves ordinary faithful Englishmen who just happened to live 3000 miles to the west of the Irish Sea. In just six short years a Congress of the colonies had declared independence and was raising an army to banish the rule of King George III forever. The reason: taxes.

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Benjamin Franklin in Paris II

Lead: In the early days of the Revolution, the U.S. Congress sent Benjamin Franklin to Paris to convince the French that an American victory was in France’s best interests. Slowly, methodically, Franklin brought them around.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When in 1785 Thomas Jefferson arrived in Paris to assume the position of American Minister to France, Foreign Minister Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes greeted him, “You replace Dr. Franklin, then.” Jefferson said, “I succeed; no one can replace him.” The world-wide fame of Ben Franklin was well-established long before he accepted Congress’ commission to bring the French into an alliance with the U.S.

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Benjamin Franklin in Paris I

Lead: Among the great contributions Benjamin Franklin made to independence was to secure for the newly formed United States a powerful ally. He accomplished that without even seeming to try.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Hardly had the ink dried on the Declaration of Independence that the Founders realized that if they were to defend colonial freedom, they would have to find the infant Republic a friend. And quickly. Governments of the world were hostile to nearly all that was fundamental in the American experiment - rebellion, anti-colonialism, democracy, human rights. It was a lonely world for the tiny sovereign outpost on North America’s east coast.

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The Last Full Measure – John Barry, the Father of the American Navy

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose sacrifice gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Content: Among his contemporaries John Barry was known as the "Father of the American Navy," but even today his name is not well known. Barry was Catholic and an Irishman and in 19th century America those things tended to diminish the value of a leader’s accomplishments. Nevertheless, Barry must be ranked among those who established the skills, reputation and fierceness of the tiny American Navy that faced almost insurmountable odds in its fight with the greatest Navy in the world during the Revolution.