American Revolution: Inept British Colonial Policy 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: The inability of the London government to effectively exercise control over the colonies was one of the reasons that led to the Revolution. After more than a century of benign neglect by Britain, the colonies and mother country discovered they viewed the world from two distinct increasingly disconnected perspectives. This was compounded by the decidedly amateurish approach London took to governing.

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American Revolution: Inept British Colonial Policy 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: The crisis that severely altered the relationship between Britain and its thirteen North American colonies was fundamentally rooted in an increasingly divergent perception of control. By the 1700s, though the colonies were theoretically under the direction of Britain, the reality was that all of them were largely independent in the way they conducted their own social, political, economic and religious life. They were, to paraphrase the words of sociologists Beatrice and Sydney Webb, virtually autonomous. Distance was too great and effective governmental communication too deficient to permit a closely held control of colonial affairs. Britons may have thought they played the dominant role in the cross-Atlantic relationship, but that was a snare and a delusion. Americans may have not reached the point where they defined this circumstance as independence, but within 12 years after the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, a powerful plurality of the colonists would embrace independence as a reality, and Britain’s sclerotic response made things worse.

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Ernest Bevin: British Labor Leader

Lead: Ernest Bevin had a remarkable technique for conciliation. It led him from the docks of Bristol, England to the post of Foreign Secretary.

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

Content: Bevin was born the illegitimate son of a village mid-wife, which in Victorian England was not a sign of future national leadership. Orphaned at the age of eight, Bevin became a farmhand by the time he turned eleven. He never took a liking for farmwork and soon migrated to Bristol where he became to deliver mineral water in 1901. In the wake of a Dock Workers Strike in 1910 Bevin was drawn into the labor movement and soon became a union recruiter.

 

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George Fox and The Society of Friends – Part II

Lead: By rebelling against political and religious authority, the followers of George Fox , secured for themselves an intense level of persecution from all parts of the ideological spectrum.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends or Quakerism, he did not set out to establish a new religious denomination. His movement was founded on the idea that all individuals were equal and could have communion with God’s spirit without formal creeds or intervention by religious authorities. This idea attracted many was an attractive one, particularly in the lower classes, and for it Fox and his followers were persecuted. It is estimated that 3,000 of the so-called Friends were jailed in England during the second half of the seventeenth century. One judge laughingly called Fox and his followers “Quakers” after Fox warned the judge to “tremble at the word of the Lord.” The name stuck.

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George Fox and The Society of Friends – Part I

Lead: The year 1643, England was in the second year of civil war and  nineteen year old George Fox, who believed he was directed by divine call, left home and began a spiritual quest that would lead to the birth of the Quakers.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Fox, was born the son of a weaver of puritan sympathies in Leicestershire, England, in 1624. Although he had little formal education, he read extensively and began early to question traditional religion and ways of worship. He was a shoemaker’s apprentice when he began his religious quest. At the age of 23, Fox began receiving revelations he believed were inspired by God. He shared this inspiration as an itinerant preacher, formulating the doctrine of the “inner light,” the idea that a person through communion with God’s spirit can comprehend divine ways without the church, religious authority or customs.

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The Wit of Samuel Johnson

Lead: Born in poverty in 1709, Samuel Johnson became England's premier eighteenth-century man of letters and was the author of the first great dictionary of the English language.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The son of a bookseller, Johnson early on developed a healthy appetite for reading but he was not a willing convert to scholarship. He later attributed his commanding knowledge of Latin to the severe beatings he received at the hand of his master at Litchfield grammar school. Johnson spent thirteen months at Pembroke College, Oxford but had to leave because the money ran out. Back in Litchfield he attempted to start a school of his own, which failed, and he acquired a wife, Tetty Porter, a widow twenty years his senior. Their stormy years together became the source of his many clever observations on married life, such as this one, "if marriage is a struggle against the odds, remarriage is the triumph of hope over experience."

 

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.

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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.

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