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.

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.

The Amazing Career of Mr. Hamilton III

Lead: During his time as Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton laid the foundation for America’s extraordinary future as an economic superpower.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: At the end of the Revolution, the youthful United States was staggering under an enormous debt incurred to secure its freedom from Great Britain - $54,000,000 in national debt piled onto $25,000,000 in state debt. Hamilton had to figure out how to cover this debt and provide a pathway to prosperity at a time when most people were high suspicious of personal or governmental debt and agreed with John Adams, that “Every dollar of a bank bill…beyond the…gold and silver in the vaults…represents nothing and is….a cheat upon somebody.” Hamilton, on the other, was an enthusiastic believer in the power of national debt rightly and conservatively organized. He was a student of the Bank of England and the brilliant success of British national finance in creating an economic and military powerhouse.

The Amazing Career of Mr. Hamilton II

Lead: After distinguished military service in the Revolution, Alexander Hamilton left a lucrative legal practice in New York to become America’s first and most consequential Secretary of the Treasury.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In the years following the Revolution it became clear to the nation’s leaders that the feckless Articles of Confederation were an impediment to national progress. A new form of government was required. Alexander Hamilton represented New York at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He voted for the final draft and then joined with John Jay and James Madison in a series of 85 essays, The Federalist, advocating its ratification. Hamilton then argued for passage at the New York convention deflecting the Anti-Federalist position with brilliant logic and vigorous argument.

The Amazing Career of Mr. Hamilton I

Lead: Subject of legend and recently the focus of wildly successful popular entertainment, Alexander Hamilton is the least appreciated of America’s founders, but perhaps one whose influence is of all most profound.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Alexander Hamilton never served as President of his chosen nation, due in part to the prohibition against a foreign-born chief executive in the Constitution which he worked so hard to create, but primarily because his primary contribution was in finance, organization, and administration. Some have called him not the father of the country or of the Constitution, though he was instrumental in the establishment of both, but rather father of the federal government.

Smoot-Hawley Tariff

Lead: Few matters in American history are as controversial or complicated as tariffs. Simply put, a tariff is a tax charged on goods imported into the country. It can be a simple tariff - the government taxes imports to pay its bills. Or it can be a protective tariff.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Democrats have traditionally believed that high tariffs were bad because 1) they raised the price of overseas goods and 2) damaged the prospects for our exports. If we raised tariffs other nations would do the same and we couldn't sell our products overseas. 

Read more →

John Law and the Mississippi Bubble V

Lead: The Bursting of John Law's Mississippi Bubble created great hardship in France and slowed the development of modern banking for a century.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After merging most of the national economic system into a huge holding company backed by the French government, John Law began to sell shares in the company. People wanted the shares because the company controlled development of the mysterious territory of Louisiana in America. The wild increase in the price of the shares in his Indies Company has since come to be known as the Mississippi Bubble. To increase the price of the shares his agents spread the word that Louisiana was a land rich in gold and silver. Actually it was little more than a worthless swamp. Law also pushed the price up with speculation. With each share selling for 300 livres or about $500 the bank offered to buy it back in six months for 500 livres. Rumors began to spread that Law knew something about Louisiana, or else he wouldn't offer to buy back the shares at a higher price. The rate went to a 1000 livres and the bubble got bigger.

 

Read more →

John Law and the Mississippi Bubble IV

Lead: John Law organized something like the modern national financial system in 1717 in France, the scheme came to be known as the Mississippi Bubble.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Law convinced French rulers that he could revive their national economy which was mired in debt because of the free-spending previous king, Louis XIV. They chartered his company La Banque Générale to issue bank notes, paper money, in place of gold and silver. At first these notes were issued in limited amounts and worked like goldsmith's receipts, they could be exchanged for the face value in gold. Frenchmen trusted them, saw their economy begin to break out of the doldrums and their government beginning to pay off its debts. Law seemed to have created something of an economic miracle.

 

Read more →