A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

July 2

In 1776, with war raging in the American colonies for over a year and many whispering of independence, the Continental Congress voted to act on the idea of separating themselves from England.

Declaration of Representation Narrowly, the proposition failed, and the Congress would turn its attention to reforming its governmental relationship with the mother country.

Many argued that Parliament's Prohibitory Act's blockade against American shipping effectively cut off the colonies from home earlier that spring. With a blockade, an act of war, the Crown was removing the colonists from his protection, rather than a quarantine of nationals. Lord North had intended the act to destroy the American economy, but wording was interpreted differently by the Navy. Any ship bearing loyal British colors was free to pass and, in fact, under the protection of British ships.

While Thomas Paine's Common Sense stirred great eagerness for independence in the minds of the colonists, simple economics gradually wore away the enthusiasm. By June, as those still holding or at least feigning loyalty prospered, thoughts had turned back to the idea of representation. The public was indeed represented by their Continental Congress, who, after abandoning the idea of independence, created a formal declaration through a committee headed by philosopher Thomas Jefferson and lawyer John Adams, later an MP. They outlined Enlightenment ideals of what a government must to do for its people and what a people must do for its government.

The American Rebellion continued until 1778 when the capture of a British army at Saratoga, New York, prompted William Pitt to speak out in Parliament for peace. Though many were adamant against the notion of letting the rebels go unpunished, Parliament voted to end the war before it left its bounds of domestic affairs and injured their position as world leaders (such as if the French became involved). An armistice was proposed, accepted by the Americans, and envoys met to discuss terms, eventually deciding to give the Americans the representation they demanded.

The war was over, and the first American members of parliament arrived in 1780. Taxes were indeed levied, but the populace was happy to pay for the civilization they had fought hard to improve. Following the American success, representation flooded around the rest of the British Empire with towns like Manchester, outposts like the Falklands, and even parts of Canada soon holding their own positions in Parliament. These populist ideas even spread outside the borders of the empire, causing uproar throughout Europe, most notably in France's Revolutions of 1789 and 1792, establishing their peaceful and lasting constitutional monarchy.

In 1857, India emulated the American rebellion in success, and non-white colonials were given citizenship and representation unparalleled before. With prosperous colonies, Britain maintained world leadership throughout the Victorian and Modern Eras. Although the World War dragged in trenches for years through the 1910s, the Second World War (or "Hitler's Little War") was won handily by 1943. As Communism and the Post-Colonial movements began in the late '40s, England's might began to wane, and new talks of independence are spreading throughout the world where the sun cannot set on a British Empire.

In the wee hours of the night of the 2nd of July 1776, a number of high ranking Colonial politicians, military commanders and philosophers gathered in Philadelphia to discuss the next steps in their disagreements with the British Crown. Though they were subject to mercantile taxes and the inability to expand their territorial possessions, the founding fathers were still concerned that their were other steps that could be taken. Leading republicans such as Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock swung the debate. By contrast, George Washington and John Adams were unsure. The people after all were not taxed as heavily as their British counterparts, and though the Colonies couldn't expand, they were safe from Native aggression via a series of pacts and contracts made between the British Crown and individual tribes and nations.

Censured Independence DeclarationThe French defeat in Quebec too had shown Washington what British Land forces were capable of, let alone the idea of the Royal Navy securing a blockade on the still fragile "nation" of America. Worse still, Canadian and Caribbean colonies were staunch in their support for the British, despite the taxes on Sugar plantations being the highest in the Empire.

"I suggest that we negotiate more devolutionary power" came the voice from the rear of the room. John Adams had had dealings with the British for much of his life and managed to argue a plan by which the Crown might truly see the "plight" of the merchant classes of America and perhaps do something about it.

The deal was struck and the Colonial Charter written as a petition. It set the precedent for all future political dealings with the British Colonies, from New Zealand and the Cook Islands to Oregon.

The plan worked, and in a few decades each colony had forged into a new state. Generations of picking and intermingling with the native nations meant that all were brought into a single land mass with ease, equality and in so teaching the British how to treat the native populations of New Zealand, Australia and India, so that by 1806, with the destruction of the Slave Trade, Britain was able to declare Civis Britanii for all citizens of the Empire, irrespective of their race, religion, creed or sexual orientation. "It is the the 4th of July" declared retired Governor Thomas Jefferson upon his death bed, proud of what the Americans had taught the British as much as what they had learned from the British.

In 1839 the Amistad, a Cuban slave ship, was overcome by the Africans aboard and pointed back towards Africa.

Amistad Mutiny Turns the TideAlthough the two Cubans left alive to steer the vessel had started pointing the ship north towards American waters, they were quickly found out by an African who knew the position of the stars, and the ship eventually made it back to their motherland, inspiring many other slave revolts on the lucrative slave trade.

In 1881, on this day the twentieth President of the United States James A. Garfield was shot once in the arm and once in the back by Charles J. Guiteau at the Sixth Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad on the National Mall in Washington.

Induction Balance saves the life of President GarfieldAlthough the first bullet only caused a graze, the second was initially thought to have lodged near his liver. However the hopelessly incompetent Dr. Doctor Willard Bliss was completely wrong, and the bullet was actually located behind the pancreas, a discovery made by a metal detector devised by the brilliant Scottish inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

Aside from the creation of the mocking expression "Ignorance if Bliss", the event was quickly forgotten because Garfield, like many other veterans were unfazed by such an injury. In fact one of the detectives who took Guiteau to the district jail still had a Civil War bullet lodged in his head. However the consequence of his survival was huge; as soon as his recovered, he quickly resumed his radical programme of reform that would change Washington forever.

In 1940, on this day the Blue Shirts of Canadian Führer Adrien Arcand raised the Flag of Vichy France less than twenty-four hours after news of the formation of the Pétain Government reached the offices of the Parti National Social Chrétien in Montreal.

Canadian Führer Part 2Of course the continued existence of an independent Francophone state in Lower Canada had grown in significance with the collapse of French forces on the Western front. At first, Prime Minister Paul Reynaud had wanted to continue the war if necessary from North Africa, and Winston Churchill had gone so far as to propose a union of the two nations. But in the event, Reynaud had been outvoted in favour of a conditional surrender.

General Charles Huntziger then headed an armistice delegation with orders to break off negotiations if the Germans demanded the occupation of all metropolitan France, the French fleet or any of the French overseas territories. In the event, they did not and the armistice was signed in the Compiégne Forest on 22nd June. The formation of a successor state began in early July when the Parliament and the government gathered in the town of Vichy, their provisional capital in central France. And it was this pivotal event that was the catalyst for Arcand's declaration in Montreal. A moment timed to perfection by his trusted advisor, "The Rib".

In 1187, on this day after months of bitter feuding the announcement in the Crusader War Council of a crazy, damn-fool decision to endanger the Frankish forces by moving the Army east of its defences triggered a fierce backlash against the eighteen months of misrule of the King of Jerusalem, Guy of Lusignan.

Victory of the CrossWith his fortress of Tiberius under siege, the troops under Raymond III of Tripoli had tried to sue for terms, provoking accusations of cowardice from Council members Gerard de Rideford and Raynald of Chatillon. Guy, who had only recently settled a major dispute with Raymond himself, wanted to attack immediately. But in fact, Raymond was willing to sacrifice his fortress for the sake of the Kingdom.

Raymond was right, Guy absolutely wrong. Saladin had calculated that because the Muslim forces were twice as big as the Crusader Army, his chances of success on an open battle field were much improved, even though the Franks had frequently won engagements despite being heavily outnumbered. Therefore his move against Tiberius was merely a feint to tempt the Crusaders out of their sound defences where they were protected from a much larger Army.

Just six years later, Saladin would die and while the Crusader states continued to face survival threats, at least one critical moment of danger had passed. Sensing this, Pope Urban II had almost died of shock when he received the news, and immediately took action to displace Guy from the throne.

In 1863, Union General Robert E. Lee would face his darkest hour as his armies were broken up during an assault against the invading Confederate forces of General James Longstreet.

Lee Falls at GettysburgBy 1863, the Civil War had dragged on through three of its six Aprils, and times were difficult for the Union. Draft riots sent New York City up in flames, the presidency of Abraham Lincoln came under question, and the South intended to follow up victories in Virginia by an invasion of Northern territory, hopefully impressing foreign powers to recognize the Confederacy.

Times were also difficult for Robert E. Lee. A native Virginian, he had very nearly seceded along with his state, but a personal intervention by retiring General Winfield Scott convinced him that his duty was to the United States government. He was branded a traitor by many in the South, who quickly seized his wife's property at Arlington, looting furniture that had once belonged to George Washington, inherited through Lee's wife Mary Custis, great-granddaughter of Martha Washington. In the North, many suspected the accented general as a potential conspirator. Further questions were raised as Lee's campaigns in the East were slow, though knowledgeable officials recognized that he spent much of the early war assembling key supply lines and training a terribly green Union army.

The invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania came as a surprise to many, but Lee seemed almost ready for the expedition, quickly maneuvering his armies to force a battle near the town of Gettysburg, PA. Here, however, his plans failed. He had long studied the effectiveness of an artillery bombardment followed by an infantry charge as used by Garibaldi in the wars of Italian unification, but his emulation in Pennsylvania would suffer problems of wet powder, crosswinds, and unshakable dug-in positions. When his army broke, Lee was reported to have rode among them and said, "I've lost this battle, not you".

Longstreet finished his plans of rooting his army at the rail center in Harrisburg, effectively cutting off Maryland and, more importantly, Washington, D.C. Despite the victory, it would be quickly overwhelmed by a reformed Union army under General Meade. Lee was shifted into a support position, where he would ride out the rest of the war, while command shifted to the new celebrity of Ulysses Grant, whose simultaneous conquest of Vicksburg, MS, would herald the beginning of the end of the war in the West.

After the war, Lee would be a proponent for reconciliation with the South, accepting a lecturing position at Washington College, now known as Washington University, in Lexington, VA.

In 1919, sharing the understanding that Woodrow Wilson's hare-brained peace proposals have no domestic backing whatsover, Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Orlando and Senator David Cabot Lodge negotiate an alternative and permanent settlement that is eventually ratified after the election of President Pershing.

President John J. Pershing
29th US President
That nomination had been sealed in a smoke filled room by Republican grandees from New England, Middle Atlantic states and the big new industrial cities of the Midwest. Put simply their financial and commercials interest was finding some alternate way for the US to get the war debts to it paid and by avoiding an expensive naval arms race with UK and Japan.

Warran Harding might have been chosen had it not been for revelations of his philandering. In any case, the war hero Pershing was ideally suited to oversee the implementation of the US offer: four US divisions based on the Rhine as a security guarantee in return for a payment plan from France and UK which saw Germany paying reparations directly to the US. Germany itself was moved eastwards, losing the entire Rhineland to France but retaining Danzig and West Prussia, gaining the Sudetenland and Austria with its capital moved to Vienna with a Hapsburg Kaiser.

In 1869, the world's first dirigible airship capable of carrying passengers, Frederick Marriott's Avitor1, made its maiden flight from San Francisco to San Jose and back. The inventor and a single observer, the writer Ambrose G. Bierce 2 were aboard.

Flight of the AvitorMarriott's flight followed eighteen years of work and a number of trials involving first partial-scale and then full-scale unpiloted vessels guided by tethers. Others had also been working along similar lines, notably in France, where the research helped inspire the author Jules Verne to write his novels Master of the World and Robur the Conqueror, featuring one of his trademark obsessed scientist-villains3.

Marriott's work had originally centered on steam-driven vessels. However, the work of French civil engineer Alphonse Beau de Rochas, who in 1862 demonstrated a four-stroke gasoline-powered engine he had patented, inspired Marriott to shift to internal combustion, which promised grester power for the same weight of engine4. His adaptation of de Rochas's design worked, and the Avito's historic flight was powered by two gasoline engines driving outboard screw propellers. The aairship inventor had devised an ignition system which allowed both engines to be started or stopped simultaneously, which was important for stability.

Ironically, however, Marrott's very success would be his undoing. In 1873, German engineer Paul Haenlein would make the first successful heavier-than-air flight outside Vienna, exploiting the same type of gasoline engine Marriott had used in the Avitor, and within a few years ithe advantages of heavier-than-air craft would have begun to push their gas-lifted cousins into the shade5.

In 2010, on this day at the Bonhams auction house in London, an unnamed Canadian collector paid $635,000 for Joseph Highmore's iconic painting of Governor General James Wolfe, pictured at the defining moment of his greatest triumph on the Plains of Abraham at Quebec with British North America symbolically subdued under his feet.

Old MasterThe battle was famously won by leading his troops up the wooded cliffs at night and catching his opposition unprepared. And yet the secret to his success was ruthlessness rather than tactical genious. In a letter to Major General Jeffrey Amherst titled "Wolfe's manifesto" he said ~

"If, by accident in the river, by the enemy's resistance, by sickness or slaughter in the army, or, from any other cause, we find that Quebec is not likely to fall into our hands (persevering however to the last moment), I propose to set the town on fire with shells, to destroy the harvest, houses and cattle, both above and below, to send off as many Canadians as possible to Europe and to leave famine and desolation behind me. But we must teach these scoundrels to make war in a more gentleman like manner".

It was a harsh lesson that Wolfe would teach the American rebels twenty years later.

In 1754, on this day Andrew Cromwell II was crowned King of England. Andrew reigned during a difficult period for Britain. He witnessed the Industrial Revolution in Britain thoroughly change both the physical & cultural landscape. America was also effected, but more so by higher standards of education, a booming domestic economy & a growing population, which eventually led to calls for independence. Andrew, though, was not at all keen on letting the Americans have any reforms, even though Parliament was prepared to allow some new arrangements in America. In the end, however, nothing got done in American political reform.

The Royal House of Cromwell, Part 8 - Andrew (1754-1788) by David AtwellThe impasse in American reform came about due to the complete conquest of India. The British Parliament, however, kept India as a separate political entity & a Viceroy was appointed to govern the country on behalf of the Crown. Furthermore, to ensure that the world understood who was in charge of India, the British Monarch accepted the Indian Throne. King Andrew was thus crowned Emperor of India in 1785. All future British Monarchs (until Indian independence in 1947) would automatically gain the Indian Title as well.

As a consequence of the British presence in India, Australia was rapidly colonised during this period in an effort to ensure that the French, Dutch, or anyone else for that matter, did not assert control over this recently discovered continent. The result of all this activity for Britain was that it was the most powerful nation on Earth. Furthermore, Andrew was the Earth's most powerful Monarch. It is no wonder, then, that he refused American requests for political reforms, regardless how conservative these requests may have been.

In 1989, a series of arrests in South Central Los Angeles followed the rejection of a letter from the FBI protesting the fiery lyrics to Straight Outta Compton. Because the Priority Record Company refuted accusations that the label had been selling an album that encouraged violence against law enforcement agencies.
Click to watch on Youtube

Dr King's Dream turns into a Gangsta Rappers's nightmare, "Straight Outta Compton"In a carefully co-ordinated law enforcement action, Gangsta Rappers Ice Cube, Doctor Dre, Eazy-E, M.C. Ren and Yella would be subsequently arrested in South Central Los Angeles were taken into police custody. A blanket ban was also placed upon listening to the album which the rappers had recorded in six weeks with USD $8,000 and sounded like nothing that had come before it.

"You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge"The consequences for America proved profound and deep-reaching. President Jesse Jackson described the lyrics as disturbing and unhelpful to those members of the community who had worked hard since Selma to build Dr King's dream.

In 1881, on this day Charles J. Guiteau shot and fatally wounded U.S. President George Armstrong Custer, who eventually died from infection on September 19.

Stalwart of the LakotaGuiteau lay in wait for the President at the Baltimore and Potomac Rail road Station, getting his shoes shined, pacing, and engaging a cab to take him to the jail later. As President Custer entered the station, looking forward to a vacation with his wife in Long Branch, New Jersey, Guiteau stepped forward and shot him twice from behind, the second shot piercing the first lumbar vertebra but missing the spinal cord. As he surrendered to authorities, Guiteau fired with the exulting words, repeated everywhere: "I am a Stalwart of the Lakota... "'.

Custer died on September 19, eleven weeks after being shot, after a long, painful battle with infections brought on by his doctors poking and probing the wound with unwashed hands and unsterilised instruments. Most modern physicians familiar with the case state Custer would have easily survived his wounds with the medical care available even 20 years later.

On this day in 1973, Johnny Smith got a premonition that the Lawnmower Man would commit his next murder in Stratford, Connecticut. He turned out to be right; the next day the body of Stratford High teacher Jim Norman was found in a deserted alley less than two blocks from the school. In his book The Lawnmower Man author Stephen King would describe the Norman case and the Lawnmower Man's hidden connection to one of Norman's students in a chapter titled `Sometimes They Come Back`.

 - Stephen King
Stephen King

In 1942, the defeated remains of the British Eighth Army wheel towards Alexandria. Claude Auchinleck is replaced and the British Eighth Army is restructured, as Bernard Montgomery was appointed Head of British Central Command. With the Western Desert and the North African Campaigns lost, Monty is charged with organizing Churchill's Last Stand in the remaining Theatre of War, the Middle East. His first step is to meet with Jewish General Moshe Dayan and offer him the keys to the British Mandate in Palestine.

 - Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan

On this day in 2014 Jerry Bruckheimer's big-screen adaptation of his hit crime TV series CSI officially topped the 300 million USD mark at the box office. Only a month after its US theatrical release, the movie had already secured its place among the all-time North American theatrical hits and was on its way to challenging the worldwide box office profit record which had been held since 1997 by James Cameron's historical romance Titanic.


The CSI movie would officially break Titanic's US box office record during the 4th of July weekend, at which time Bruckheimer would hold a press conference to confirm that a sequel had been greenlighted.

In 1965, a rally against the war in Cuba, held in Washington D.C., attracts 10,000 demonstrators. It is the largest such protest to date, and its size alarms the Johnson administration, which fears public support for the U.S. occupation may be eroding. While the stigma of Oswald remains, it is fading as time passes and the war goes on with casualties mounting and Castro still at large.

 - LBJ

President Johnson's concerns are amplified by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who insists the growing anti-war movement is controlled by Communists. In late July, acting on his own initiative, Hoover will order a massive expansion of the FBI's COINTELPRO operation. Established in 1956 to sabotage the U.S. Communist Party, it was expanded in 1961 to go after the Socialist Workers Party and has been used since 1964 to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Now it will be employed against opponents of the Cuban war.

In 1935, on this day in Regina, Saskatchewan ~ the day after the Canadian Army fired upon workers from British Columbia and the rest of western Canada that were making their way to Ottawa, a group of protesters, RCMP officers, and soldiers met in the town center where the shootings had taken place. The Protesters carring the red flag of revolution. One of the soldiers carring the Red Ensign of the Canadian nation. After talking, till after the sun rose and people started to gather around the group of men. It was decided, the workers, and all others tired of teh deprestion, the soldiers never wanting to fire again onto the civilians. They went back to thier respected homes and lodges, to tell thier commrads that the Canadian Revolution had come.

In 2001, after an eight week trial Barry George was acquitted of charges relating to the murder of television presenter Jill Dando. George, 41, was found not guilty of shooting Miss Dando through the head with a single bullet on the doorstep of her home in Fulham, west London, on 26 April 1999. The jury deliberated for 32 hours before giving their majority verdict at 1613 BST (1513 GMT) at the Old Bailey in London. Much of the evidence that guided the jury of six women and five men was circumstantial, supported by witness accounts.
In 1964, on this day the Civil Rights Bill - one of the most important piece of legislation in American history - became law. US President John F Kennedy signed the bill creating equal rights in voting, education, public accommodations, union membership and in federally assisted programmes - regardless of race, colour, religion or national origin. The bill has caused much controversy since it was introduced last year. It was signed tonight in the White House five hours after the House of Representatives passed it by 289 to 126 votes. After the signing, John F Kennedy shook hands with civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King. In a television address to the nation he called on US citizens to 'eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in America'. 'Let us close the springs of racial poison,' he said.
In 1991, Axl Rose of the grunge metal group Guns ?n' Roses is killed when he sparks a riot by leaping into the crowd at a concert in St. Louis and attacking a fan who is videotaping his performance. The death of the notoriously hot-headed Rose closes the chapter on his musical style, as well; softer, gentler music makes a dramatic comeback in the 90's.
In 1947, a small glowing disk lands into the desert outside of the small town of Roswell, New Mexico. The occupants make their way to Alamagordo, then they report back to the Congress of Worlds.
In 2009, Microsoft Corporation announced that for the quarter just ended, Windows Livemail user fees represented over 40% of sales for the first time. Eight years before on 25 February 2001, unconsidered comments were made by a Microsoft executive, who said the company was considering introducing fees for its free Hotmail service. It was one year after the dotcom crash and everybody, even mighty Microsoft, was pondering how to make some money on the internet. A stroke of genius, Hotmail now represents over 30% of Microsoft revenue. The Seattle giant had suffered from loss of revenue from software piracy for many years, and this services-led innovation enabled the corporation to grow sales explosively in the consumer market.
In 1978, Lynette Fromme, a former hippie from California, attempted to murder President Nixon. Obviously insane, she claimed in her trial that the President had committed some sort of crime in the election of 1972 and was supposed to have resigned. She was found guilty and remanded to an insane asylum for life. President Nixon was reported to have said of her, "Crazy drugged-out hippies. That's what they get for messing with Nixon".
In 1890, Congress narrowly defeats a measure sponsored by Senator John Sherman to prohibit trusts and monopolies. This paved the way for the eventual merger of all U.S. corporations in 1921 to form US GlobalCorp. From multimillion-dollar highway networks to the biscuits on your table, everything's done better by US GlobalCorp!
In 1566, Michel de Nostradame died in Salon, France. He saw it coming, but left no quatrains about it.
In 1172 AUC, Valentinian III is born in Rome. Although born into a divided empire, he will eventually unite the two halves and lead Rome to greater glory.

July 1

In 1981, with somewhat less enthusiasm than usual the Confederation celebrated the first Canada Day since the secession of Quebec.

The Subdued Affair that was Canada Day 1981Ironically the narrow YES vote had come while Confederation Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau - himself a Quebecer - was temporarily out of office thereby preventing his early return to the official residence at Sussex Drive after the recent general election. Instead his less experienced successor John Turner would have to deal with the thorny issue of non-French speaking areas of Quebec seeking to retrocede back into the Confederation (as Trudeau had correctly anticipated in his prescient warning, if Canada as divisible, so was Quebec).

Meanwhile across the border the retrocession was not the only issue hanging over the forthcoming Separation Day Celebrations. Because eight million Quebecers had left the Confederation to avoid the rapid assimilation problem suffered by French Canadians and Acadians. But an isolated Francophone pocket in North America surrounded by English and Spanish speakers in the majority, with question marks over their economic viability as a state, it appeared that their own language and identity was now at risk more than ever. Because of this Trudeau himself was supremely confident that Quebec would eventually reconsider the benefits Confederation membership, after all, the "squeaky wheel gets the grease".

Bill Slim was given the rank of Lieutenant General and promoted to the position of General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Army in India. This was a complete surprise for the local commander because the officer earmarked for this upgrade had been forced to return to England for malaria treatment.

1st July, 1942 - Noel Irwin catches malariaAcross the world Axis forces were falling back and within months Slim was ordered to advance into the Arakan Peninsula. The success of his methods enabled the Allies to liberate Malaya before the end of hostilities in the Far East.

In time "Uncle Bill" Slim would receive the recognition that was rightly his, but the significance of his actions was not fully revealed until much later on. Because he had opened the Burma Road the Western Allies were able to get much needed support to Chiang Kaishek and save Nationalist China from succumbing to the deadly contagion known as communism.

In 1649, the Earl of Ormonde marched a combined force of English Royalists and Irish Confederates on Dublin, the last major foothold of parliamentary forces in Ireland. Ironically Ormonde himself had held Dublin two years prior when it was besieged by Irish Confederates, before abandoning it to English parliamentary forces.

The Fall of IrelandThe Confederate/Royalist coalition had been forged in blood, the years since the Irish Rebellion in 1641 had been years of bloody and ruthless wars. Even as a peace agreement had been reached in 1648, after a series of defeats for the confederates at the hands of parliamentarian forces, fighting continued against those Catholics who could not stomach submitting to the protestants who had inflicted massacres on Catholics only a few years prior.

In 1649 things were going well for the coalition, the parliamentary forces received almost no support from England, where Cromwell had his hands full with the second English Civil War.

At the end of July Ormonde had camped his troops at Rathmines near Dublin, with the intent to besiege the city. On the second of August his troops started fortifying the half-demolished castle of Baggotrath on the outskirts of Dublin. Michael Jones, the defender of Dublin, decided to move against this danger with an army of 5.000.

Although Ormond's army had stood to arms for just such an eventuality Jones quickly captured Baggotrath, and turned towards the main Royalist camp. Although the royalist forces were thrown in disarray, they were able to fall back on a line formed by Lord Inchiquin's infantry. Despite suffering heavy losses Ormonde was able to hold the line long enough for Lord Dillon to march against the parliamentarian rear.

Chaotic fighting raged on throughout the day, until at the start of the evening the remaining Parliamentarians forced themselves past Dillon's battered forces and retired to Dublin.

The parliamentarians had inflicted heavy losses on the Royalists, but at the cost of most of their own force. Lord Inchiquin who had been stationed in Munster with three regiments of horse had marched North upon hearing the news, and linked up with Ormonde the next day. With Ormonde's troops occupying the countryside and his artillery dominating the harbour, the siege of Dublin continued for another 6 weeks. Cut off from England and with no remaining allies in Ireland Jones surrendered Dublin and was allowed to return to England with his troops, leaving behind most of their weaponry.

With no port open to him Cromwell called of his planned invasion of Ireland until spring. But the intended invasion of Ireland was overtaken by events, as the Scots proclaimed Charles II their king. The bulk of the New Model Army marched north against the Scots, leaving only a small army to invade Ireland and attempt to gain a foothold there.

Because the English navy still commanded the Irish sea parliamentarian forces could land unopposed near Drogheda. Needing to to take Drogheda before the Royalists could send reinforcements the walls were quickly broken by artillery and the city taken by assault.

The royalist garrison was massacred to a man, along with hundreds of civilians. The victory of parliament was short-lived as Ormonde marched the main royalist army against Drogheda, while Dillon marched troops from Dublin past Drogheda to block the parliamentarians from the north. With most defensible positions destroyed in the Parliamentarian attack the city was soon assaulted and it's defenders given no quarter.

The massacre of Drogheda did much to strengthen Irish resolve. The defense of Ireland was strengthened by new fortifications in coastal towns and a reorganization of the Royalist army into three armies tasked with guarding Ireland against any invasion. Although English Royalists remained in command of these armies, with Ormonde in overall command, the Irish nobility was incorporated into the army as well. Parliamentary propaganda tried to make the best of it's failure to recapture Ireland by casting Charles II as "the Irish King", hoping to fuel anti-Irish and anti-Catholic resentment in England, even though the monarch did not so much as set foot on Irish soil during these years.

Upon the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 the Irish Confederacy was dissolved and the Irish Parliament instituted. The confederacy had achieved most of it's goals, with self-government of Ireland assured and religious equality for Catholics (in Ireland) granted by Charles II.

It is July 1st, 1993, and the 42nd President of the United States Ross H. Perot has given away his daughter Carolyn's hand in marriage on the White House lawn. An article from our Happy Endings thread.

Happy Endings 40:
Fairytale Wedding by Ed. & Jackie Rose
A year earlier Ross had considered quitting the campaign in order to avoid protests at the wedding. But instead of this negative outcome, and being a well-renowned win-win problem solver, he had found a perfect solution with Carolyn and her husband whereby the wedding could be delayed for a year and then held in splendour on the White House lawn.

It was exactly these kinds of smart "look under the hood" moves that guided Perot through his transformative two-term Presidency.

In 1947, the President and high-ranking staff at the White House were killed by a letter bomb sent by the Zionist Stern Gang. Amongst the wreckage was a diary entry that Truman had recently penned "The Jews needed some place where they could go. It is my attitude that the American government couldn't stand idly by while the victims [of] Hitler's madness are not allowed to build new lives".

Bomb in the In-TrayBecause the tragedy occured shortly before the passage of a new Presidential Succession Act, Secretary of State George Marshall was sworn in (under the draft legislation Speaker of the House Joseph Martin would have entered the Oval Office instead).

The architects of the earlier 1792 and 1886 acts had safely assumed that under these circumstances the Secretary of State would be certain to provide continuity of American Foreign Policy but in reality Marshall had a fundamentally different perspective on the establishment of a Jewish homeland. He felt that if the State of Israel was declared that a war would break out in the Middle East.

Also, he privatey held the opinion that recognizing the Jewish state was a political move to gain Jewish support in the upcoming election, in which Truman was expected to lose to Dewey. But of course now the tables had turned and instead there was a large question mark over the Democratic Party's endorsement of his candidature. Worse, events had started to move in the Soviet Union's direction, and many wondered if Marshall might not "lose" Israel through his refusal to recognize statehood.

In 1940, on this day the German Kriegsmarine aircraft carrier codename Flugzeugträger B was christened the Peter Strasser (in honour of the World War I leader of the naval airship) and launched from the Deutsche Werke in the port of Kiel. Deployed in a carrier group alongside the Tirpitz, her main war-time role was to wreck havoc amongst the Arctic convoys.

Flugzeugträger Part 2: Launching of the Peter StrasserThis strategic mission objective was laid down by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder (and after some angry exchanges) finally signed off by the Fuehrer who exercised his supreme authority through the Oberkommando der Marine. Not only did this approval ensure that Plan Z received the necessary level of resourcing, but it also enabled the German naval architects1 to overcoming immense difficulties despite their inexperience in building such vessels. The design challenges included a complement of cruiser-type guns for commerce raiding and defense against British cruisers, American and Japanese carriers, designed along the lines of task-force defense, used supporting cruisers for surface firepower, which allowed flight operations to continue without disruption and kept carriers out of undue risk of damage or sinking from surface action.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.

In 1867, on this day the Confederation of Canada started the inevitable countdown to the final Union invasion north across the 41st parallel.
A variant ending to "Railroaded into the Union: Part #1"

Railroaded into the Union #2Perhaps the only way that the outcome to the Charlottetown Conference could have been designed to be more offensive would have be to have postponed the decision by three days for co-timing with Independence Day.

Nevertheless the response was radical. Perhaps most significantly in the long-term was the decision taken in Washington to scrap plans for an inter-colony railroad which would improve trade, military movement, and transportation in general. Because despite the objections of the newly incorporated West Coast state (formerly known as the Colony of British Columbia), it was strongly argued by integrationalists that it was more cost effective to use barges to trans-ship up the Red River. In reality, the future-proofed "up-down" decision (instead of a "left-right") transport solution was driven by the pressing need to vertically integrate the hub of the two nations across the Prairies. On these terms, it was an unqualified success, particularly for the development of Winnipeg; instead of being the meeting point between East and West Canada, "the Peg" actually became the Heart of the Continent that its planners had originally dreamt of.

In 1543, on this day the two warring realms of Protestant England and Catholic Scotland were finally brought together in indissoluble union by the betrothal of Mary Stuart and Edward Tudor.

Treaty of Greenwich
By Ed, Jackie Speel and Jared Myers
The betrothal of the seven-month-old Queen of Scots to the six-year old heir to the English throne was more or less forced upon the Scots. In a weak bargaining position after their defeat at Solway Moss the previous November, Henry VIII made them sign the Treaty of Greenwich and sealed the peace with the dynastic union, stipulating that Mary be handed over to him to be brought up in England.

There was a reaction of course and it was on a truly massive and unimaginable scale. The Scots considered a renewal of their alliance with France in 1543, but in the event thought better of it. Instead, Edward VI died under mysterious circumstances that have never been properly explained. And the ascension of Mary Stuart not long after the natural demise of the King's half-sister Mary Tudor, was soon followed by the beheading of Elizabeth I. Ironically, this bloody period in the nation's history began and ended with a betrothal. Because in 1558, the sixteen year-old queen regent of England and Scotland was betrothed to Phillip II, King of Spain. And that was it.

In 1837, on this day military officer, diplomat, conspirator and would-be assassin Major Henry Reed Rathbone was born in the city of Albany in the U.S. State of New York. His father Jared L. Rathbone was a merchant and businessman, who later became Albany's mayor. At the time of his father's death, Rathbone inherited the very considerable sum of two hundred thousand dollars from his family's estate. His widowed mother, Pauline Rathbone, remarried Judge Ira Harris, who was appointed U.S. Senator from New York after William H. Seward became Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State.

Sic Semper Tyrannis On Good Friday 1865 Rathbone and his daughter Major Rathbone and Clara Harris attended a performance of the play Our American Cousin at the Ford's Theatre.

During the intermission Presidential bodyguard John Parker left the theatre and went for a drink in a nearby saloon, ending the evening in the arms of the well-known prostitute Lizzie Williams. As a result the madman John Wilkes Booth was able to enter the Presidential box unchallenged.

In the ensuing struggle, Rathbone grappled with the madman, and a shot was fired which narrowly missed the President's head. Attempting to make his escape, Booth lept towards the stage, but his riding spur was caught in a Treasury flag decorating the box and he landed heavily breaking his leg.

Yelling out the Virginia state motto "Sic semper tyrannis!" ("Thus always to tyrants") Booth was restrained by men in the audience - who soon discovered that he was unarmed.

In fact the only weapon he had brought to the Ford's Theatre was the knife used to stab Rathbone, and it was the Major who had used a deringer to pull off the shot during the struggle. Rathbone would spend the rest of his life in a lunatic asylum due to the quick thinking of the President's other companion, the always dependable Ulysses S. Grant. But despite the obvious connection to William Seward, evidence of a wider conspiracy was never proven although many suspect that Lincoln knew the truth but chose to conceal it on order to protect the Union. Or his tyranny, if you will.

In 1868, on this day The New York Herald observed that the Democrats had to name a soldier to defeat General Grant, the Republican choice, putting forward the name of his greatest Civil War adversary, the Confederate General Robert E. Lee:

American Heroes 4: The Marble Man"But if the Democratic Committee must nominate a soldier - if it must have a name identified with the glories of the war - we will recommend a candidate for its favors. Let it nominate General R. E. Lee. Let it boldly take over the best of all its soldiers, making no palaver or apology. He is a better soldier than any of those they have thought upon and a greater man. He is one in whom the only genius of this nation finds its fullest development.

Here the inequality will be in favor of the Democrats for this soldier, with a handful of men whom he had moulded into an army, baffled our greater Northern armies for four years; and when opposed by Grant was only worn down by that solid strategy of stupidity that accomplishes its strategy by mere weight. With one quarter the men Grant had this soldier fought magnificently across the territory of his native State, and fought his army to a stump.

"this General is the best of all for a Democratic candidate"There never was such an army or such a campaign, or such a General for illustrating the military genius and possibilities of our people; and this General is the best of all for a Democratic candidate. It is certain that with half as many men as Grant he would have beaten him from the field in Virginia, and he affords the best promise of any soldier for beating him again".

After Appomatox, Lee had faced indictment for treason. But he had won widespread admiration in the North by swearing renewed allegiance to the United States an act which brought tens of thousands of his former soldiers peaceably back into the Union.

As the President of Washington College at Lexington, he had established a modern University which set "an example of submission to authority". It was an example that Lee might set as a key unifying leadership figure in post-war America:

"True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them the desire to do rightis precisely the same".

In 1862, with Grant's capture of Nashville and McClellan at the gates of Richmond, the drunken wretch of a Confederate President Robert Toombs (pictured) fled to Cuba leaving the defeated South to pay a heavy price for losing Jefferson Davis in an unnecessary duel with Judah P. Benjamin.

Bottled Out
Co-written with Scott Palter
The dispute began when the two southern politicians clashed at a session of the Senatorial Finance Committee on June 8th 1858. Considering an army appropriations bill for $100,000 worth of breech-loading guns, the Senator for Lousiana had queried whether the request was actually for new guns, or simply to rework old ones. Taking exception to this line of inquiry, the Secretary of War made the offensive remark that he "had no idea that he was to be met with arguments of a paid attorney in the Senate Chamber". Benjamin took this statement as a personal insult because he believed that it implied he was a corrupt official being paid to represent the interests of a well-known gun manufacturer.

Asking Davis to repeat the remark in case he had heard it incorrectly, the Secretary of War was sufficiently angered to affirm (rather snappily) that indeed he had. By the time he reached the Senate cloak room, his anger had subsided, but by then it was too late because Davis was given notice of a challenge to a duel.

Benjamin had never fired a shot in his life whereas Davis had served as a Colonel in the Mexican-American War. But a cataract had caused almost total blindness in his right eye and his shot at his opponent missed the mark. Benjamin fled to England in disgrace only to discover from the post-humous publication of Davis diary that the Secretary of War had been pained by his misbehaviour in stepping across a boundary.

"Defend yourselves, the enemy is at your door ... !" ~ Robert ToombsAnd so neither were present on the floor of the Senate on January 24, 1860 when the then Senator for Georgia Robert Toombs famously declared "Defend yourselves, the enemy is at your door ... !". And from afar the guilty Benjamin was forced to read reports of Toombs rise to the Southern Leadership where has was to squander the Presidency that surely would have been far better served by Jefferson had he not wasted his life over a simple misunderstanding.

And yet Benjamin would still play a final part in the conduct of the war. World famous as the first practicing Jewish Cabinet Member of a North American Government, he convinced Benjamin Disraeli1 to act as an advocate for his southern comrades. And so just before the collapse of the Confederacy, the Royal Navy whisked die hard Confederates off to exile in South Africa. A final act of seemingly little significance that would ultimately have huge implications for the long-term future..

In 1898, on this day American forces suffered a sharp defeat at San Juan Hill, losing many of the Rough-riders including the Bear Moose, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt himself.

Defeat at San Juan Hill A great loss that could have ended the Spanish-American War earlier came at San Juan Hill. American General William Rufus Shafter's plan to take Santiago de Cuba depended upon securing the San Juan Heights overlooking the city. Also seeing the importance of the heights, Spanish General Arsenio Linares held only a small number of men in reserve in Santiago, placing nearly 10,000 troops to defend the heights.

The American direct attack on Kettle Hill with two divisions was pushed back at great cost of American life. A second assault successfully took Kettle Hill thanks to heavy fighting by buffalo soldiers of the 10th Cavalry, but nearby San Juan Hill would not be taken, despite the assault lasting late into the evening. Eventually the Americans would fall back, regroup with Lawton's 2nd Division (which had been dispatched to take the stronghold at El Caney) on July 2, and take the lesser-defended Santiago despite its precarious position. The threat of assault from San Juan would keep the American defenders pinned, and the war in Cuba would stagger on through many more months.

During the fighting, an amiable and excitable New Yorker named Theodore Roosevelt led a group of volunteer cavalry, the Rough Riders, collected from cowboys and Ivy League polo players. The men were held in reserve until the second assault, when Col. Roosevelt led the charge up the hill himself (arguably misinterpreting orders to reinforce as orders to advance). Roosevelt was killed in a counterattack on his north flank along with many of his comrades, a story that was much reproduced in the American newspapers, furthering the growing dissatisfaction with the war.

With the war not yet over in 1900, angry and dispassionate voters turned many of the Republicans out of office in the elections, instead favoring the Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan. President Bryan would be credited with ending the war, though the Spanish had already begun to show desires of peace under McKinley's administration. Tragedy struck the nation in September of 1901 when anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinated Bryan at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. Vice-President Adlai Stevenson succeeded the president, taking up his policies of giving independence to the Philippines and busting up many of the nation's corrupt monopolies and trusts.

The American public's distaste with the Spanish-American War furthered its sense of isolationism. In the next decade, the United States would not participate in Europe's Great War (1914-1920), except in increasing American Naval power after the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. Instead, the US focused on domestic affairs such as Women's Suffrage and the Prohibition Movement. The 1920s brought strong, but not unparalleled, economic growth to the US as Europe rebuilt, only to fall into the Second Great War in 1939. Meanwhile, the US enjoyed two decades of domestic peace, with newspapers desperate for any interesting event, even the short 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in which Clarence Darrow successfully defended the teaching of evolution on grounds of Free Speech.

Although giving aid to Allied Powers, the United States would remain out of the war until 1942, despite public outcry over 1941's British Landing where German troops devastated southern England before finally being rebuffed in a reversal of Dunkirk. Japan, which had conquered nearly unchecked in the Pacific through the 1930s (such as its speedy defeat of the Philippines), would draw in America with its Invasion of Hawaii on June 2, despite continuing guerrilla combat in British Australia. Eventually, Hitler's 1943 Operation Barbarossa would bring the USSR onto the side of the Allies, and GWII would be won with combined atomic arsenals of the United States and Soviet Union in 1945.

On 1st July 1862, the Grand Trunk Standard Gauge was adopted.

Grand Trunk Standard Gauge adoptedAN ACT to establish the gauge of the Pacific railroad and its branches. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the gauge of the Pacific railroad and its branches throughout their whole extent, from the Pacific coast to the Missouri river, shall be, and hereby is, established at five feet six inches.

In 1847 the governments of Ontario and Quebec in what would later become Canada adopted a standard for railroad gauge, the distance between the rails. They did this explicitly to promote rail shipping between cities without railroads having different size tracks every time a border was crossed between operational territories. By forcing every railroad in the Grand Trunk system to use the same Gauge all rolling stock was able to travel everywhere without issues arising.

While several areas of New England had adopted the narrower four feet eight and a half inch gauge favored by the southern English railroads the Canadians had instead adopted the Scottish standard gauge because its broader tracks allowed both heavier and wider rail cars to be used giving greater volume of shipping space on each car, 64% more in fact. A rail box car built at the five foot six standard allows a locomotive and its train to use fewer cars while hauling the same quantity of goods. A train that needs twenty cars on New England/English gauge to haul goods only needs twelve cars if it is using the Scottish/Canadian Gauge. This gives it a great advantage in costs both of building the rail cars and in maintaining the much smaller number of rail cars needed for its operation.

The Old Northwest states bordering Canada on one side and the Pacific Railroad terminus in Iowa on the other side soon each adopt the new Standard as a state standard. Previously the only one of them with as state standard had been Ohio, but now Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota all adopt the new Standard Gauge and Ohio adjusts their standard to match the new one. Iowa also adopts the new standard immediately, along with Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, which had the broadest tracks before the Civil War at five feet two and a half inches easily widened their system by three and a half inches to the new Standard Gauge.

After the end of the Civil War in 1865 the states that had made up the Confederacy are all strongly encouraged to adopt the Standard Gauge, which is six inches broader than the southern state standard. The states that had made up the Confederacy had already been using a broader standard than New England/English systems used because hauling bulk commodities like Cotton Bales encouraged the use of higher volume cars. Widening their tracks by six inches and installing new axels on their rolling stock is a cost they tried to avoid at first, but as the Union Army had already been rebuilding the tracks in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi to use different sizes than the Confederate standard gauge it only made good sense to change everything at once instead of step by step.

When the Transcontinental Railroad met in Utah you could get on a passenger train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and ride all the way to San Francisco, California on one compatible system. The broader cars also had the advantage of comfortably holding 30% more passengers per car making it even more profitable for the railroads to carry people to the west coast. Before long the remaining states adopted the Standard Gauge of five feet six inches to make sure they would stay economically tied in with the other states. Because of the homogeneous system Canadian and American rolling stock could also easily cross the border between the two networks without any trouble and trade between the two was further strengthened.

In 1863, on this day Confederate and Union forces begin the battle of Gettysburg, PA. Robert E. Lee had no intention of becoming engaged, but his III Corps under Gen. A.P. Hill ran into Union General John Buford's cavalry division north of the town.

GettysburgBuford skillfully held off Hill until the Union I Corps under John Reynolds was able to relieve him, but as the Confederate army began to converge on Gettysburg, the I Corps was forced to fall back to the town itself, where they met up with O.O. Howard's XI Corps. As senior commander, Reynolds decided to make his stand on the hills south of the town, ordering his I Corps to fortify Cemetary Hill on his left and the XI Corps to move onto Culp's Hill on the right. The XI Corps had just started to move into position when "Allegheny" Johnson's division of the Confederate II Corps marched up.

Johnson, immediately grasping the importance of the heights, ordered his division to take the hill at all costs. Although the mostly German XI Corps put up a tough fight, they were no match for the likes of the Stonewall Brigade, and Johnson soon sent Howard's men running south. Within an hour, Johnson was reinforced by Jubal Early's division, but the commander of the II Corps, Dick Ewell, hesitated to attack Cemetary Hill, now only held by a badly beaten I Corps and fragments of the XI Corps.

However, an officer arrived from General Lee, with a message stating "carry the hill occupied by the enemy, if he found it practicable, but to avoid a general engagement until the arrival of the other divisions of the army". Ewell, recently promoted and eager to show his mettle, assaulted Cemetary Hill and rapidly drove the Union forces off, sending them racing down the Baltimore Pike, where they ran into Henry Slocum's XII Corps. Slocum immediately sent a courier to Gen. Meade, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac, who ordered his forces to establish a defensive line on Pipe Creek, well to the south of Gettysburg.

In 1804, on this day Colonel Aaron Burr took office as the third Governor of New York with the immediate intent of seceding the State out of the Union and into a newly created Northern Confederacy.

First PlaceBelieving that the Louisiana Purchase had destroyed their chances of controlling the government, a group of New England Federalists, led by Timothy Pickering had originated the dastardly plot. But it was soon discovered by Alexander Hamilton who immediately sought to foil it by published a series of articles that were highly critical of Burr. "I consider Napoleon, Fox, and Hamilton the three greatest men of our epoch, and if I were forced to decide between the three, I would give without hesitation the first place to Hamilton" ~ Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

And yet the electoral impact of those articles was neutralised by the widely written "Antifederalist Papers" which had been published anonymously throughout the gubernatorial election bearing the unmistakeable penmanship of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The result was that Hamilton's preferred opposition candidate Morgan Lewis lost by a mere thousand votes.

Hamilton made a second, and more successful attempt to foil the plot ten days later when he met Burr for an "interview" at Weehawken. Only yards from the spot where his son had died three years before, Hamilton reserved both shots, humilitating Burr with the implication that he wasn't worth shooting, a tactic British Primie Minister William Pitt the Younger employed against George Tierney.

After missing Hamilton with his own shot, Burr fled to the south-west where he executed a variant of Pickering's plot by creating the breakaway republic of Gloriana which ironically enough detached the territory acquired by the Louisiana Purchase.

In 1520, on this day the semi-divine deity Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin was murdered in the city of Tenochtitlan. This precipative action was recorded with great detail by Aztec pictograms in the Codex Mendoza, a hurriedly created contemporary account of the genicide that the Spanish Conquistadors were then visiting upon the ordered society of the Mexica Tenochca.

Montezuma's RevengeActing in the name of his white god, Hernan Cortéz poured molten gold down the throat of the tlatoani, thus simultaneously drowning, suffocating, and burning him. This psychotic act of violence revealed Cortéz system of thinking, because he rightly feared Motecuhzoma's revenge, both in this world, and the next.

"I have spoken of the sorrow we all felt when we saw that Motecuhzoma was dead. We even blamed the Mercederian friar for not having persuaded him to become a Christian".In fact, soon after he arrived on the city-in-the-lake, Cortéz had been shocked to discover the frightening idols of the Aztecs. And this disquiet soon led to mortal terror when he first witnessed the human sacrifice practiced at the Great Temple.

Because Cortéz understood fully that the Aztec's form of worship celebrated a connection with the spirit world that was utterly alien to the Catholic mindset. To re-establish this proper connection between the temporal and spiritual worlds, the night jaguar Quetzalcoatl (pictured) reanimated Motecuhzoma - but with a new infusion. And so a deadly disease was unleashed upon the accused invaders, who fled Mexico both with the Codex, and also the "Spanish Influenza" that would ravage the civilization of Western Europe.

In 1690, on this day at Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland, the future of Catholic supremacy in England was secured with victory at the Battle of the Boyne when Protestant King William was defeated by the rightful monarch, James Stuart (pictured) who the Williamites had unlawfully deposed some two years before.

Glorious Revolution of 1690The high point in the so-called "Glorious Revolution", this violent series of event is seen in retrospect as the springboard for Britain's eventual global dominance.

In late 1685 the King had crushed the rebellion of his nephew, the Protestant Duke of Monmouth, executing hundreds of traitors of the English West Country in the Bloody Assizes. Determined to improve the social and political status of his Catholic co-religionists, James rewrote English law. He insisted on his right to defy parliamentary statute and awarded Roman Catholics military and naval commissions. In 1687 he used his newly formed and illegal Ecclesiastical Commission to force England's Protestant universities to accept Roman Catholic fellows. When the fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford resisted their king's demands, he had the dons stripped of their fellowships and their institution turned into a Catholic seminary.

After the King had failed to persuade the House of Commons or the House of Lords to repeal England's laws against Roman Catholicism, he reduced the power of Parliament. He first asserted his right to nullify the Test Acts and Penal Laws. These parliamentary statutes -- requiring, in the case of the Test Acts, that all political or military office-holders take the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England and, in the case of the Penal Laws, punishing those who officiated at or attended non-Church of England services--had successfully insulated the English from continental Catholic practices. Then James determined to have his royal fiat ratified by a Parliament packed with men whom he knew would do his bidding. In June 1688, seven bishops of the Church of England defied James by refusing to have his Declaration of Indulgence, emasculating the Penal Laws and Test Acts, read from England's pulpits on the grounds of its illegality. James had the seven men dragged into court for a show trial. That even a carefully picked English jury acquitted the bishops tested the limits to which the English were willing to go in support of their King.

Soon after the trial, the English invited the Dutchman William III, Prince of Orange, to England to restore their religious and political liberty.William rules for two short years until his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne.

In 2009, on this day political satirist Al Franken ended his bid to unseat incumbent Minnesota senator Norm Coleman.

Joke Candidacy by Eric LippsFranken, running as a Democrat, had been assailed as a "joke candidate" prior to the election, but the November balloting had ended essentially in a tie. When the recount mandated by state law had seemed to go in Coleman's favor despite polls hinting that support was trending in Franken's direction, the Democrat had gone to court seeking a further examination of the votes. Over the next seven months, the two candidates traded allegations of fraud, while Minnesotans essentially functioned with only one seated senator.

Finally, on June 30, the Minnesota high court handed down its decision, in favor of Coleman. The court's ruling meant an end to Mr. Franken's legal options unless he chose to take the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, with its strong Republican majority. Late in the evening of June 30, a Franken spokesman announced the candidate would be formally conceding the following morning and had already placed a call to Senator Coleman to inform him of that decision.

In 1966, on this day the Australian newspaper published a speech delivered in Washington, D.C. by the New South Walesian imperialist reactionary, Harold Edward Holt.O Tempora, O Mores Part 2 - All the Way with LBJ
Holt articulated unquestioning support for US President Lyndon Baines Johnson, for America's Vietnam policy and for continued Australian military involvement in the conflict ~ "You have in us [the Australian Liberal delegation] not merely an understanding friend but one staunch in the belief of the need for your presence in Vietnam. We are not here because of our friendship, we are here because, like you, we believe it is right to be there and, like you, we believe American forces should stay there as long as it seems necessary to achieve the purposes of the South Vietnamese Government and the purposes that we join in formulating and progressing together. And so, sir, in the lonelier and perhaps even more disheartening moments which come to any national leader, I hope there will be a corner of your mind and heart which takes cheer from the fact that you have an admiring friend, a staunch friend that will be all the way with LBJ".
Controversially, Johnson was present for the speech, effectively giving his support to Holt (both pictured) as the de facto Head of the Australian Government in Exile.

In 1796, the so-called "Whig Revolution" begins in England.

Whig Revolution by Eric LippsIt will eventually end in the forced abdication of England's King George III (pictured) and the installation of his son, Prince George, as a constitutional monarch with sharply limited powers, as Parliament assumes de facto supremacy.

Twenty years ago on this date, dissident American colonists assembled at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia voted down a proposed "declaration of independence" following the refusal of its drafter Thomas Jefferson to remove a hostile reference to the African slave trade.

The armed rebellion which had begun with the battle of Breed's Hill the previous year had quickly fallen apart after that, and King George III, determined to squash the spirit of rebellion once and for all, had slammed down a mailed fist upon the thirteen disobedient colonies.

But his harsh response, which included the creation of a red-shirted "Order Police" empowered to use any means it chose to combat alleged sedition and subversion, has not produced peace so much as sullen submission. Rebel groups of one sort or another, many receiving aid from foreign powers such as France, Spain and the Netherlands, still carry out sabotage and seek through propaganda to stir up sentiment for a second attempt at revolution. The economy of the colonies continues to stagnate, too, under policies designed to keep America dependent upon Britain for manufactured goods; only shipping, which produces the vessels needed to carry raw goods from America to Britain and finished ones back, has been allowed to flourish.

Even in England itself, dissatisfaction has grown steadily. Growing public awareness of the ways in which the colonists are being deprived of what British subjects see as basic rights guaranteed by the Magna Carta and centuries of tradition has given rise to the fear that what has been done across the water may be done in the home islands. And influential figures in commerce and politics are increasingly dissatisfied with what they see as a costly and destructive occupation. Calls for reform, however, have been ignored or defied by the king, who appears to feel that as monarch by "divine right" he need not listen to critics. In fact, he has lashed out at several of them publicly, and on May 3, 1800, had threatened to dissolve Parliament outright if it again raised the issue of his American policies.

It was this outburst which would prove to be the final straw. Meeting privately at the country home of William Pitt, a cabal which included Pitt himself, Edmund Burke and Charles James Fox, along with several other lesser figures, discussed what Burke would describe in his diaries as "the direction of the country," reluctantly agreeing that King George's continued reign and the continuation of the policies he supported would prove harmful to Britain's "best interests".

Burke had emerged as a sharp critic of post-rebellion colonial policy, which he saw as siphoning British resources while interfering in the natural operation of the marketplace. Before the American rebellion, Charles Fox had denounced the taxation of the colonies without their consent, and once actual fighting erupted he had called for a negotiated settlement; the collapse of the revolt had very nearly meant the collapse as well of his political career, which it had taken him years to rebuild. Pitt, who had once been much less sympathetic to the colonies than his father, the elder William Pitt, had come to believe that the king's policies after the rebellion were all but guaranteeing another uprising at some point, this one perhaps backed by foreign powers as the first had not been.

Pitt and Fox had more personal motivations: both believed they had seen evidence that the king, who had contracted porphyria, was showing signs of mental instability. They shared that concern with their fellow conspirators, who acknowledged that if the king were indeed losing his faculties he must be removed for the good of the nation, quite apart from specific considerations of policy.

The actual coup required months of planning, during which measures were taken to line up both political and military support for the plan. The timing of the strike itself, two decades to the day after the rejection of the attempted declaration of American independence, is pure coincidence, but conspiracy theorists will insist that the plotters were working with colonial subversives - perhaps even with the hated Jefferson himself, believed to be in exile in New Orleans under Spanish protection.

In 1838, at a hastily convened convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, six Southern colonies - Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia - pass a resolution declaring themselves "free and independent States". The Raleigh resolution borrows language from the Declaration of Philadelphia defeated by Southern veto exactly 62 years earlier.Southern Rebellion of 1838 by Eric Lipps

The Southerners proclaim themselves the United Commonwealths of America and declare fiery pro-slavery speaker John Calhoun (pictured) provisional president. British troops move to quell "Southern rebellion".

Southerners, who have long feared that the Crown might someday abolish their cherished institution of Negro slavery, rise en masse. Northerners, remembering how Southern intransigence had doomed the earlier attempt to secure independence for all the colonies, watch from the sidelines, ignoring Southern appeals to "our fellow Americans".

In August, inspired by sensational reports of British atrocities, the colonies of East and West Florida, Burgoyne and Louisiana will join the rebellion. On the eighth of that month, however, Massachusetts becomes the first colony to formally offer its support to the Crown to suppress the rebellion. It will be followed in short order by all of the colonies north of Virginia and Maryland, sparking expectations that the conflict will be short-lived. It will not be; major military operations will not end until March 1841, and guerrilla activity will continue for years thereafter under the aegis of a shadowy organization known as the Cyclops Legion.

In 1971, Dien Bien Phu, which had been serving as the emergency capital of North Vietnam since the fall of Hanoi in March, is captured by U.S. and ARVN troops. Once again, however, the surviving North Vietnamese leadership manages to escape.

Fall of Dien Bien Phu by Eric LippsIn the U.S., opponents of the wars in Southeast Asia and Cuba are freshly branded as "defeatists". John F. Kerry, a returned Vietnam veteran who had delivered a two-hour antiwar speech to Congress on April 22, is singled out for particular scorn. "Mr. Kerry told us how bad the war was," columnist and Nixon speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan thunders in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post. "Well, it's certainly turned bad for the Communists. Perhaps he cares more about that than about how, despite all the naysayers, this country is winning. If so, perhaps this isn?t the country he ought to call home".

In 1776, reacting to Thomas Jefferson's refusal to excise a paragraph condemning the slave trade in the proposed declaration of independence from Great Britain under debate in the Continental Congress, the delegations of South Carolina and Georgia vote "no" on its adoption. Since it had earlier been agreed that adoption required a unanimous "yes" vote, the resolution fails.

Collapse of the Revolt by Eric LippsFollowing the vote, the Georgia and South Carolina delegations walk out. Other Southern delegates follow soon after, causing the Continental Congress to disintegrate. News of the political disaster soon reaches the armies in the field and, predictably, ignites a wave of desertions. By the end of September, the Continental Army has been reduced to disorganized bands of guerrillas.

The leaders of the revolution find themselves forced to flee; Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin arrive in Paris in December and seek the protection of King Louis XVI. With the collapse of the revolt, British control tightens, backed up by a huge infusion of fresh troops sent to "restore order" in the rebellious colonies. One of their assignments is to identify and hunt down remaining "rebels".

Before the year is out, the so-called Order Police, a paramilitary organization charged with suppressing dissent, will have been established, with offices in every colonial capital.

Older Posts

© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.