House Divided: Collapse of the Confederacy IV

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Robert E. Lee had known it would come to this. He told Jubal Early that a siege was disastrous and would doom his army to defeat. His lines were paper thin around Petersburg and every day Yankee strength proved increasingly irresistible. Yet in the weeks of early spring 1865, he dreamed of a breakout, of joining Joseph Johnston in North Carolina and of a last campaign, first against Sherman, and then against Grant, whom he hoped he could give the slip.

House Divided: Collapse of the Confederacy III

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the end it was a matter of choice. Either it would be independence or freedom for the slaves. The rehearsed arguments across the South echoed the bitter national debates of the 1850s. Slavery was morally beneficial for both master and slave. Senator Hunter said, “what did we go to war for, if not to protect our property?” Howell Cobb of Georgia fumed, “if slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong. The day you make soldiers of them is the beginning of the end of the revolution.”

Massachusetts Colored Regiment II

Lead: The opportunity for blacks to serve in the Federal armed forces during the Civil War was a novel idea and was resisted by skeptical and prejudiced whites. Many minds were changed on the deadly slopes of Battery Wagner.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Getting official permission for blacks to fight for the Union was one thing, making it happen was much harder. Massachusetts formed the 54th Colored Regiment in early 1863, but the Commonwealth did not have enough resident African-Americans to fill it. The Governor, a committed abolitionist, issued a national call for volunteers and, led by activist Frederick Douglass, who contributed time and energy as well as two sons to the regiment, the ranks of the 54th gradually filled. They were led by a white man, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who turned down the Governor’s offer at first but later accepted and was glad he did.

Massachusetts Colored Regiment I

Lead: During the Civil War, the South was not the only region of warring America where blacks faced a struggle to overcome racism. One way they fought for their place as citizens was to fight.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early days of the Civil War African Americans in the north and in areas liberated by Union armies were not allowed to fight for the Federal cause. When a group of blacks tried to form a local militia in Cincinnati they were told, “we want you damned niggers to keep out of this, this is a white man’s war.” The vast majority of Northerners were just as bigoted, just as prejudiced as Southerners. Yet, slowly this began to change. Abraham Lincoln grew in his understanding of the nature of conflict in which the nation was locked. White abolitionists worked tirelessly for full citizenship participation for Africans. In addition, many blacks were willing to sacrifice their lives on the battlefield. As a result, stereotypes were destroyed, prejudice was challenged, and free blacks and freedmen contributed much to the defeat of the Confederacy and the end to slavery.

Emancipation of Brazil’s Slaves

Lead: The abolition of slavery in Brazil was due in large part to the influence of two courageous but pragmatic rulers.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Brazil was one of the few Latin American countries to gain peacefully its independence from European rule. During Napoleon's invasion of Portugal in the early 1900s, its rulers fled to their South American colony. When the French were no longer a threat, the Portuguese monarchs left Prince Pedro in charge. In 1822 he declared the independence of the nation and himself Emperor of Brazil. The stability provided by the monarchy was largely unmatched in the region.

Compromise of Shame

Lead: Of the issues facing the Constitutional Convention the toughest was that of representation in the new Congress.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed a compromise. Laws would have to pass a two house legislature, one part based on population, the other with each state having an equal vote. The interests of the smaller states would thus be protected. With that settled, the convention then deadlocked over how to count the black slaves. Southern states wanted slaves counted just as freemen. Northern states wanted them counted not at all. 

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Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment III

Lead: A single vote saved Andrew Johnson from disgrace.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1865 President Johnson wanted to quickly ease the South back into the national mainstream, but his stubbornness and irascible disposition complicated his ability in facing an array of opponents, the most formidable of which were the Radical Republicans. Led by Benjamin Wade and Charles Sumner in the Senate and Thaddeus Stevens in the House, the radicals were determined to treat the South as if it were conquered territory. In addition, they wished to force full citizenship for blacks on a South filled with whites who up to then considered African Americans to be hardly human beings, much less persons worthy of civil rights. Also, the radicals knew that Southerners, many of whom had advocated secession and brought about the war, would probably help elect a Democratic majority in Congress, which would defeat the radical program.

Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment II

Lead: Andrew Johnson remains the only American President tried by the Senate after impeachment. His troubles may have been due to who he was and from where he came.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in North Carolina, as a teenager Andrew Johnson moved across the mountains to Greenville, Tennessee and there established a successful tailoring business and a career in politics. He was elected a U.S. Senator in 1857. Johnson was a product of the powerful historic divisions in Tennessee politics. It is a long way from the scrabble farms near Johnson City in the east Tennessee Appalachian foothills to the plantations around Memphis overlooking the Mississippi River. For years the slave-owning planters in the west had dominated Tennessee politics. In the east farms were smaller, slaves were fewer, and the planter class was bitterly resented. When the west led the state into the Confederacy, eastern Tennesseans remained largely loyal to the Union. Andrew Johnson, faithful to his eastern Tennessee roots, was the only Southern senator to remain in Washington after 1861.