Guano

Lead: As world population grew in the years before and after 1800 so did the demand for food. At the same time, much farm acreage was depleted, tired, unproductive. This problem was solved in part with guano.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Guano is bird excrement. Grouped with the droppings of bats and seals, it is perhaps the most potent natural fertilizer, and bird guano is the primo variety containing up to 16% nitrogen, 12% phosphorus, and 3% potassium. In the mid-19th century, guano was treated as if it were gold, provoked at least one fighting war, and made enormous fortunes for growers and suppliers alike.

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JP Morgan Bails US Out of Bankruptcy

Lead: In 1895 John Pierpont Morgan, a New York banker, arranged to loan gold worth $65,000,000 to the United States Government. This may have prevented national bankruptcy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Before the establishment of the United States Federal Reserve System, government financial leaders were convinced that people would trust government issued paper money only if it was freely convertible to precious metal, gold or silver. Theoretically, anyone could go into a bank and exchange paper money with a face value of, say twenty dollars, for an equivalent amount of gold. During the depression triggered by the Stock Market Crisis of 1893, many people especially foreign investors exchanged their paper money for gold.

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Teapot Dome Scandal III

 Lead: In 1922 Interior Secretary Albert Fall leased to his friends oil-rich land in California and Wyoming. He was on the take.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Government experts suspected that oil was being drained from government land into private wells on the edge of national oil reserves in the west. To protect these reserves, oil was being pumped out under contract and resold to the government for above ground storage. In trouble financially, Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall in the spring of 1922 arranged private leases in exchange for cash, bond, and interest-free loans of $400,000 in cash or bonds.

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Teapot Dome Scandal II

Lead: Trusted by his friend President Harding, Secretary of Interior Albert B. Fall brought disgrace to the administration and served time for his trouble.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1921 Interior Secretary Fall convinced Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby to transfer control of naval oil reserves to his Department. It was government policy to hold oil-rich land for national defense purposes. Since Navy ships were propelled by oil-fired engines it was in the national interest to hold this land in reserve. During war the oil could be pumped out for emergency purposes. Some Navy experts believed that reserves in places such as Elk Hills, California and Salt Creek, Wyoming were being drained by private oil wells on the edge of government land, and they insisted that this endangered reserve should be immediately pumped and stored above ground.

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Teapot Dome Scandal I

Lead: One of America's greatest political scandals had at its heart the character of Warren Gamaliel Harding.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1920 the people of the United States voted for a return to normalcy. After a decade of political innovation and war the nation selected as its President an Ohio newspaperman turned politician, Senator Warren Harding. An affable and popular man, Harding rode the public's good feeling into office. Within a short time the burdens of the Presidency and personal disappointments had brought him to the brink of death. A year after that political scandal had so clouded his reputation and that of many of his associates that his administration is almost universally associated in the common memory with corruption.

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British General Strike IV

Lead: In the spring of 1926 Britain endured the only General Strike in its history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Labor leaders were frustrated. Led by Walter Citrine of the Trades Union Congress, they wanted to work out a settlement of the looming strike of the mine workers and the possibility of a national sympathy strike, but radical rank and file workers pushed for a confrontation. The conservative government of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was clearly on the mine owners’ side and had used a nine-month cooling off period to prepare. Labor was not prepared, but when the mine owners locked out their workers and a million of them went on strike, on May 3, 1926, a million and a half transportation, electric, steel and dock workers followed right behind. It was the only time in British history when the vast majority of organized industrial workers gave support to another group of workers for more than one day.

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British General Strike III

Lead: Wracked by internal divisions, in spring 1926 the labor movement in Britain called the only General Strike in England's history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early part of the century, unions representing thousands of British industrial workers were locked in a running debate on the way labor should deal with management. Should unions work within the system or assault it from the outside -- confrontation or cooperation? The leaders of the Trades Union Congress, an umbrella group representing many unions and the members of the British Labor Party were in favor of cooperation. Most were socialist in their outlook, but they advocated gradual reform of society. Among rank and file workers however, there were Communists and radicals who considered their leaders wimpish and wished to remake society along Marxist lines. They looked for confrontation. In May 1926 coal miners gave them their chance.

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British General Strike II

Lead: In 1926, the British labor movement called the only general work stoppage in that nation's history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As the 1800s drew to a close, industrial workers in Britain had begun to band themselves together into mass trade unions. Shipbuilding laborers, transportation workers, printers, and a host of other trades organized themselves to protect their interests, improve working conditions, and increase wages. Military needs during World War I had gradually increased the wages of factory workers and when peace broke out these workers resisted attempts by government and business leaders to roll back to prewar levels their hard won gains.

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