A finely study of a relatively obscure figure, Oscar W. Underwood, and a probe of his fight against the Ku Klux Klan at the Democratic Party convention of 1924, which cost him the presidential nomination.
In 1850 Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri hopes for California statehood. Knowing it will not be admitted as a slave state he fights Senator Calhoun's bill that would forbid Congress from voting against slavery in the Territories.
In 1894, Richard T. Ely is a professor at the University of Wisconsin. When the politically appointed school superintendent attacks his character and his method of teaching Professor Ely stands up for the principles of academic freedom.
The story of Gov. John Slaton of Georgia, who in the early 1900s pardoned Leo Frank, who had been convicted of and sentenced to death for raping and murdering a young girl. Slaton believed that Frank, who was Jewish, had been convicted not on the evidence but because of rampant anti-Semitism on the part of the prosecution and the jury. Slaton's decision outraged the public, but as it turned out, he was right--several years later it was revealed that it wasn't Frank who committed the murder but a local handyman.
In 1946 many Nazis are sentenced to death at the Nuremberg trials. Senator Robert A Taft of Ohio questions the legality of these trials since the men have no chance for appeal and since their crimes were enacted after the fact.
Illinois Governor, John Peter Altgeld, reviews the cases of the men convicted in the Haymarket Riots. When he becomes convinced that they did not receive a fair trial he considers granting an unpopular pardon.
The story of Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who fled to the North in the days before the Civil War. Douglass decided to use his writing and oratorical skills to lead the fight to abolish slavery, a risky move because the Fugitive Slave Act allowed an escaped slave to be captured anywhere in the US and returned to his owners in the South.
In 1850 Daniel Webster is a US Senator from Massachusetts and an outspoken abolitionist. Fearing the breaking up of the Union, he risks his reputation and his political career when he considers supporting the Missouri Compromise.
In 1869 Cuba is struggling for its independence from Spain. Secretary of State, Hamilton Fish, working against the corrupt administration of President Grant and the public's desire for war, continues to seek a diplomatic solution.
In 1920 the New York Legislature threatens to expel 5 members who are in the Socialist Party. Since they were legally elected and part of a recognized political party , Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes speaks out in their defense.
In 1868 President Andrew Johnson appoints General Thomas to replace Edwin Stanton as Secretary of War, against the wishes of Congress. This leads to his impeachment trial. Kansas Senator Edmund G. Ross will cast the deciding vote.
In 1807 British warships are raiding US vessels and conscripting US sailors. Thomas Jefferson asks Senator John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts to help pass an embargo that might devastate the economy of the Senator's home state.
In 1807 Aaron Burr is on trial for treason. President Jefferson and the majority of Americans are certain of his guilt. Presiding over the case is Chief Justice John Marshall who wants a fair and constitutional trial for Burr.
The true story of Judge Ben B. Lindsey, a judge in Denver, Colorado, who led the fight in the early 1900s for a separate judicial system for teenage offenders, who at the time were being sent to adult prison with hardened convicts.
In 1887 George Mason refused to sign the US Constitution because it did not contain a Bill Of Rights for individuals. At the Virginia Ratification Convention he spoke against its ratification until it contained a Bill of Rights.
The story of U.S. Senator Thomas Corwin, a rising star in the Whig party in the 1840s who was one of the few political leaders to oppose the US-Mexican War initiated by the administration of President James Polk.