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This is a two-part programme specially filmed in Washington. Its objective is to show how informal political processes operate in American politics. The subject matter is a narrative case-study of ...the campaign to create a National Historical Park for the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Part I traces the development of interest in the canal from 1954 onwards and the attempts by citizens' groups to put pressure on Congress to legislate for a National Historical Park. It examines the separate roles of public opinion, the executive Department of the Interior, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, and examines how each interacted on the other and the consequential results. It looks at this proces s up to 1970 and gives an insight into the reasons for the failure to get legislation through Congress. Part II is concerned with developments during 1970. It traces the changes that took place in public opinion, its organisation, and its effect on Congress and the Department of the Interior. In observing the relationship of public opinion with the Congressional machinery, the programme examines the part played by Congressional Committees as well as the floor of the Senate and the House of Representatives and highlights the significance of Congressional hearings within the American legislative system. The programmes are more than a narrative case-study; they are means by which we can observe certan aspects of the American system as it responds to informal pressures placed upon it. No conclusions are suggested in the programmes; though certain leading participants in the case study make comments on the American system as they see it. The student is left, as far as possible, to reach his own conclusion.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D100, Understanding society: a foundation course
Item code: D100; 25; 1972
First transmission date: 11-07-1972
Published: 1972
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:48:37
Note: Part 2 continues straight after the credits for part 1
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Producer: Francis Sealey
Contributors: Wayne N. Aspinall; Stewart Brandborg; Charles Mathias; David Murray; William O'Douglas; Colin Ritter; John Saylor; Anthony Wayne Smith; Spencer Smith
Publisher: BBC Open University
Footage description: Shots Canal of horse C.192O. D. Murray introduces a summary of part I. Shots of members of the C & O Canal Association on their annual hikes as background shots to Murray's commentary D. Murray continues his summary of part I (DlOO/25.1) William O. Douglas, Supreme Court justice discusses the growing sentiment for a park along the C&O Canal in 197O. Maryland citizens discuss their support for a national park. The growing citizen support and its effect on Congress is examined. Shot of a local support group meeting Congressman Gilbert Gude discusses the effect on Congress of this support. Commentary examines the pressure on Walter Hickel to compile a report favourable to the project for the creation of a C & O Canal park. Still shot of Hickel. Legislative assistant to Senator Mathias explains how Congressmen pressured Hickel for a favourable report. The Interior Department at this time still favoured a larger scheme. Sen. Mathias, also tells of the pressure put on Hickel and the Interior Department. Shot of a page of the Interior Department report which finally reported, favourably on the C&O Canal park scheme Russell E. Dickenson, Director of the National Park Service, discusses the effect of special interest groups on any project's success . Shot of Marylandresidential streets near the canal. Shots of the Capitol, Washington, D.C Congressman Wayne Aspinall, chairman of the House Interior Committee, tells how a Congressional Committee reviews and reports on proposed legislature. Mathias and others discuss the pressure which was put on the House Committee. Aspinall tells how his committee arrives at its decisions. Commentary discusses the approach to the committee hearings by the Bill's supporters. Aspinall tells what specific items his committee looked at to arrive at its decision on the C & O Canal Park Bill. Shot of the chamber of the House of Representatives. Commentary explains the progress of a bill once it reaches the House floor. (Rules for introducing and voting on a bill) Shot of Senate floor. Progress of the Bill through the Senate is explained. Problems of getting the C & O Canal Park Bill through Congress without amendments because of time limitations discussed. Shot of White House from north side. Movement of the C & O Canal Park Bill through the White House explained. A Maryland Citizen, Aspinal, Mathias and others discuss the processes of American government in general. Credits - scenes of the C & O canal with a folksong about the canal.;Shots of a horse drawn barge on the C & 0 canal, c. 1920. D. Murray introduces the unit. The unit will focus on process of establishing a national park in the U.S. through pressure on government to provide legislation for the scheme. Shot of barge being drawn along the C & 0 canal. Shot of map showing the C & 0 canal. Shots of the canal in use, c. 1920c Shots of the Potomac valley flood which damaged the canal in the 20's. Shots of the now disused parts of the canal. Commentary to above shots by Murray gives brief history of the canal. William 0. Douglas. Supreme Court justice, discusses his ideas for turning the canal area into a recreational park. Shots of canal area being used for recreation (skating, riding, etc.) Shots of Washington Post editorial page for 3 Jan., 1954. The editorial supports a highway project to be built on the bed of the C and O canal. Shot of a Washington Post letter to the editor by Justice Douglas. It is in support of preservation of the canal. Letter read by Douglas himself. Douglas tells how he organised a group of people to hike the length of the canal with him in order to gain public support. Shots of Douglas and his group walking and camping along the canal from Cumberland, Md. to Washington, D.C. in 1 951±- This group became the C & 0 Canal Association. History of the group is given as commentary to the shots of the group. Colin Ritter, a member of the 195^4- group talks about that walk. He discusses plans which were made to pressure for legislation to save the C & 0 canal. (Pressure on Congress and the U. S. Park Service). Ritter and Murray continue with a history of the C & 0 Canal Association. The commentary is interspersed with shots of the 195>h walk. the lobby in Congress. Shots of the Capitol, Washington, D.C Spencer Smith, Secretary of the Citizens' Committee for Natural Resources tells why the C & 0 Canal Association approached his group to lobby on its behalf in Congress. Ritter discusses other steps which were taken to enlist public support for the Canal Association. Shots of page 1 of the Congressional Bill for the creation of a national historical park along the C & 0 canal. A flow diagram and commentary explain the Federal legislative process. S. Smith gives the history of the 1959 Bill for creation of a national park along the C & 0 canal and tells why it failed to be enacted. Congressman John Saylor explains what went wrong in the House of Representatives with the 1959 Bill. Reaction of the Secretary of the Interior to to the failure of the Bill discussed. Shots of Dept. of the Interior, Washington, D.C. Shot of Pres. Eisenhower signing the executive order which made the C & 0 canal a national monument in 1959. D. Murray sums up the action for the preservation of the canal so far. Several federal legislators discuss the reasons for the lack of finance made available by Congress for the President's new national monument. Shots of the Capitol building and of the Dept. of the Interior. Commentary discusses the plans of the Johnson Administration for a new, much enlarged park covering the whole Potomac river basin. Shot of map of Potomac river basin. Senator Charles Mathias tells how and why the plan for a greatly expanded park came into being. He gives some details of the new plan. Shot of President Johnson making a speech to Congress on conservation in which he specifically mentions the plan for the Potomac river basin park. (1965) Charles Mathias continues his discussion of the new plan and tells, why there was opposition to it. Several public figures give pros and cons for the new expanded park proposal. Douglas and Ritter discuss the obstacles which arose in the 196O's to block the creation of a national park along the C & 0 canal and the reaction of the Canal Association to them. Murray on canal bank sums up the campaign for a national park along the C & 0 Canal from 1954-1969. Credits - scenes of the canal and folksong about the C & 0 Canal.
Master spool number: 6HT/ 70349
Production number: 00520_1225
Available to public: no