In 1764, the child prodigy Wolfgang Mozart performed for the Royal Family of King Louis XV in Versailles, France.
Mozart Off-keyAlthough the boy did his best, he was distracted by the sumptuous surroundings and did not please Louis. Discouraged, the boy's father gave up on his dreams of making the boy Europe's foremost musician.
Mozart went into mathematics after being given his choice of direction in his life, and published many important papers during the early 19th century.
In 2013, on this day the United Kingdom assumed the year-long rotating presidency of the G8 group.
This article is part of the American Heroes thread.
The President-elect's Tax HavensNeedless to say, the British Cabinet had already taken ownership of the responsibilities which include hosting the annual leaders' summit (in Lough Erne, County Fermanagh) and choosing the global priorities for discussion. Accordingly, they had already chosen to focus on combating trade protectionism, cracking down on tax havens and promoting greater government transparency.
These themes (in fact the UK Government's own agenda items) had been repeatedly articulated by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne throughout the year. Even before Mitt Romney became President-elect, creating a situation of conflict because he himself had been pilloried for avoiding US taxation by holding funds off-shore.
In 1750, on this day inaugural Speaker-President Frederick Muhlenberg (pictured) was born in Trappe, Pennsylvania.
Birth of Speaker-President MuhlenbergDespite the war-time inefficiencies of Congressional Government, his predecessor General Washington never once wavered from his Republican convictions. He voluntarily surrendered his post as C-in-C, only reluctantly agreeing to serve as President and of course he outright refused to be crowned King.
During his two terms of office circumstances forced him to adopt an authoritarian leadership style bordering on monarchism. Whilst he could be trusted, his Vice President John Adams patently could not (some even feared he would crown himself King and name his son John Quincy as successor). He ludicrously suggested to Senate that Washington be addressed "His Majesty" inviting nicknames such as the "Duke of Braintree" and "His Rotundity". More significantly, he was prevented from addressing the Senate. It was Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg that suggested that the title of the President of the United States should be "Mr. President" instead of "His High Mightiness" or "His Elected Majesty", as John Adams had suggested .
In his Farewell Address, Washington shocked the nation by announcing not only his retirement, but the dissolution of his office in favour of a unified position of Speaker-President. Of course Muhlenberg was an interesting character, being a Pennsylvanian Lutheran pastor and a German speaker. But as matters transpired, he only served in office for two years and could not have taken steps on either language or religion as his detractors feared.
It is 1511, and all of England is rejoicing at the birth of Henry, Duke of Cornwall, to King Henry VIII and his beloved Queen Katherine of Aragon.
Happy Endings Part 7
Henry VIII & Catherine of AragonShe turns a blind eye to her husband's affairs with other women, most notably her lady-in-waiting Anne Boleyn.
As the young Duke grows, so does his father's devotion to the Church of Rome. At Pope Clement's request, the King is happy to join the other Catholic monarchs in fighting the new Protestant heresy that is flourishing in Germany. Soon all of Europe is Catholic again, as it remains to this day.
In 1766, on this day the "Old Pretender" James Francis Edward Stuart died at the St James's Palace aged seventy-seven. His Majesty's demise was just three months short of an ineffectual twenty year reign that followed the restoration of the House of Stuart.
This article is part of the Glorious 45 thread.
Glorious Forty-Five #2
By Ed, Scott Palter & Jared MyersHis contributory role in the ending of the hated foreign rule of the Hanovers was a surface conversion to the Anglican Faith. But of course his Majesty wasn't even present at the decisive moment in the Jacobite Uprising, a Council of War held on 5th December, 1745. Against the near unanimous advise of his commanders including such men as Lord George Murray, his son Bonnie Prince Charlie crossed Swarkestone Bridge and ordered the Jacobite Rebel Army to march on Oxford.
Even before his brilliant reign as Charles III, he and his father would nurture the new generation of bold commanders that would suppress the American revolt. But of course the rise of the British land army would have profound consquences much closer to home.
At first French assistance for the Stuart restoration was little more than a half-hearted and rather clumsy attempt to throw a spanner in their enemie's works. But due to the stunning success of Bonnie Prince Charles (albeit balanced with the shock of the Anglican conversion) Paris was willing to form a world-beating Triple Alliance with the Spanish that would end Dutch overseas ambitions. Overconfident in the status quo, the Bourbons also move to embrace Prussia ensuring that after 1766, Charles of England and Frederick of Prussia would tower over the other rulers of Europe like colossi. But by the turn of the century, French belligerence had returned in full force, and with the Rise of Napoleon, the continent of Europe would be confronted by a titanic clash of three great powers.
The "Glorious 45" thread continues in Part 3
In 193 AD, after the assassination of Emperor Commodus, the Roman Senate arose under the guidance of Publius Helvius Pertinax to reinstate the principles of republicanism after more than two centuries of rule by emperors.
Rome Returns to the RepublicCommodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius, a good emperor who ruled for some twenty years. Aurelius had been more of a philosopher king than a politician, writing his Meditations on self-guidance in Greek, possibly in imitation of the ancient wise men of Greece. He took his rule as a civic duty, establishing justice and fighting numerous wars for the good of Rome even though he preferred study. Aurelius died in Vindobona (modern Vienna) while on campaign in 180, succeeded by his son, Commodus.
"Commodus had already ruled as co-emperor for three years and, though young, assumed full command with all skills needed, but his father had not anticipated him squandering them. Dio Cassius, a contemporary historian, recorded that Commodus began to turn Rome "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron". Commodus ignored the business affairs of state and instead took to entertaining the army and populace with enormous monetary gifts and lavish games. Most notoriously, Commodus would reject tradition and participate in the gladiatorial combat himself. Early in his reign and then throughout, dissatisfied leaders would organize conspiracies against him, finally culminating in his death at the hand of his mistress Marcia, his manager Eclectus, and the Praetorian Prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus December 31, 192.
Pertinax, the praefectus urbi (roughly, Mayor of Rome), was taken by the Praetorian Guard and prepared to be named emperor, even against his will. After a night of expert reasoning and discussion, Pertinax finally managed to persuade the Praetorian soldiers to end the tradition of obeying an emperor and instead uphold their oath to the Senatus Populusque Romanus (the Senate and People of Rome). Marching into Rome in celebration, the Senate was convened and ancient legal books brought out of libraries to bring back the great Republic that had been dissolved into August's empire when Rome was so corrupt. Corruption had now swallowed up the office of imperator, and it was time for the Republic to stand again.
Great new powers were granted to the prefects in the provinces around the empire and citizens were enabled to vote for representation among the censors. The Senate took up many pet projects that had gone undone while the bureaucracy ruled, and Pertinax himself retained his position as praefectus urbi, spending much of his tenure restoring solvency and maintaining the grain supply to Rome. The Praetorians were broken up diplomatically, paying commanders enormous sums to retire or head eastward in General Septimus Severus's campaign to conquer Mesopotamia while soldiers were dispersed through the legions protecting the empire at large. Without the Praetorian Guard taking great bribes and influencing politics with the sword, Rome transitioned fairly peacefully into the New Republican Era.
In 251, the Plague of Cyprian spread through the empire. In Rome, it was rumored that some 5,000 people died each day. The Senate proved powerless to stop the suffering, several potential solutions being frozen in debate while disease raged. Prefects maintained control by establishing quarantine zones, cutting off their borders and taking executive powers. By the time the plague itself finished, the provinces were sick of making payments to an ineffective Rome that now could scarcely defend its own borders. The empire collapsed as Parthia rebelled and no one stopped them, followed by Egypt, Asia Minor, and spreading westward until Rome had become a checkerboard of mismatched kingdoms, republics, and city-states by the beginning of the fourth century.
Germanic invasions soon followed, turning the Mediterranean into a series of feudal states built upon self-defense. Trade dwindled, and a dark age settled across Europe and northern Africa. In the East, the Persian Empire arose, dominating much of the Levant and maintaining trade along the Silk Road, growing wealthy as it fed luxuries to the west, such as the Hun Empire, Kingdom of the Franks, and New Carthage.
In 1917, New Year's Day was a gloomy one at the White House. Just after Christmas it had been noted that President Woodrow Wilson was ill, and pneumonia had been diagnosed. Since then he had been getting steadily worse.
Chapter of Accidents; How Bryan Returned From The DeadThat evening, he struggled to say a few words, but could barely be understood and lapsed into unconsciousness. He died in the small hours of Tuesday, January 2nd.
President Thomas R Marshall and the Democratic National Chairman, Vance C McCormick, arranged a hasty meeting. With less than a week to go before the Electoral College cast its votes, the Democratic ticket had to be named in a hurry. No doubt, of course, who the presidential candidate must be. At such short notice, it was far to late to look for anyone other than Marshall, even if some rather wished they could. But he needed a "running-mate".
Part 1 of a new story by Mike StoneMcCormick floated the name of William Gibbs McAdoo, son-in-law to the late President. Marshall did not object aloud, but was not keen. Remembering how the Wilson cabinet had snubbed him and ignored his opinions (to the point where he had given up attending after a few months) he had little fondness for it, and was in no hurry to favour any of its members. To gain some thinking time, he insisted on a courtesy offer being made to William Jennings Bryan, the party's elder statesman, even if somewhat shopworn of late. "I don't suppose for a minute he'll accept. After all, he was offered it in 1912, but he turned it down.When you've run for President three times, Vice President is a bit too much of a come down. But let's do it anyway".
Against his better judgement, Mc Cormick had acquiesced.
Bryan studied the message thoughtfully. Vice President was, indeed, a rather anticlimactic note on which to end his career - and it was ending. That was why they hadn't turned to him in 1912; the world was passing him by. And yet - -. He had rejected the position in 1912, and that had now proved a terrible mistake. Had he swallowed his pride and accepted, then he, not Marshall, would now - -. Had the Sin of Pride cost him his last chance for the office he had sought so long? He reached his decision.
The telegram came back within an hour. "Delighted to serve my party and country in any way you wish. Accepted with thanks". McCormick groaned as he read it, but Marshall was philosophic. "Well, I guess we're stuck with him.
And [with a chuckle] if I could do the job, I'm sure he can". The telegrams went out to advise the Democratic Electors. Despite some raised eyebrows, they made no trouble; on January 8, Marshall and Bryan received all of Wilson's 277 votes. The New York Times expressed a general feeling in its editorial. "If it was felt, for whatever reason, that Mr Bryan must be offered some post, the Vice Presidency is probably the one where he can do least harm".
By the time the Electors met, Marshall had already made his first gaffe. At Wilson's funeral, he spoke in glowing terms of the late President's work for peace, and declared "I pledge myself that so long as I am your President, never will any American be sent to war, unless an invader's evil foot already stands upon our shore. Should that happen, they will need their legs - and arms - for swimming". Wild rumours soon took flight as to who had drafted those words, with Bryan as the principal suspect, but the truth was more prosaic. Marshall had inadvertantly taken the wrong paper from his briefcase, and rather than perform an undignified rummage, chose to ad lib from a talk he'd given at another funeral, a couple of years before. Unfortunately, it was that of a sailor killed in Mexico, in the course of Mr Wilson's intervention there. When Edith Galt Wilson learned of this, she was incensed. Taking his words as a slight on her late husband, she never spoke to Marshall again.
Others were scarcely happier. In a quiet whisper to Colonel House, Secretary of State Robert Lansing observed "That hick has just given away our whole position on our maritime rights, before the President's even buried yet".
House nodded. "I think I know how people must have felt when Andrew Johnson took over from Lincoln. ("Yep", interjected Lansing, "another alcoholic1"). And look at the way he's cut and run from Mexico, without even talking to the Cabinet".
"No prizes for guessing who persuaded him" responded House. "For Pete's sake, Bryan supported the Vera Cruz expedition in '14, but you'd never guess it listening to him now. Still, small mercies. At least Roosevelt's not here. That speech could have given him a heart attack". Ex-Presidents Taft and Roosevelt had both been invited, of course. Taft had come, but TR developed an illness which was widely assumed to be diplomatic.
"You should have heard what Ambassador Page told me when he was over here last Summer" added Lansing. "You know, Marshall said he took care never to read any of the papers the Allies or Germans put out, in case they caused him to form an opinion and stop being neutral. Talk about a world statesman".
"Indeed" responded House. "It is a tragedy".
House left Washington the next day. He had never held any official position, and had no personal ties with the new President. Lansing also departed, though not from choice. The pro forma resignation which he had submitted, with the other Cabinet officers, on a change of President, had been accepted, and Bryan was back at State for the next two months. Marshall quickly explained that there was nothing personal in this. As Vice-President Elect, Bryan was entitled to be first in line of succession, for which purpose he needed to be Secretary of State until March 4. Lansing wondered if that was all there was to it. So did many others; but Marshall's explanation was good enough for the Senate, who confirmed Bryan to what one newspaper described as "the sound of 192 shoulders all being shrugged at once" .
Count Johannes von Bernstorff felt his stomach knotting up as he stepped out of the Embassy into the cab waiting to take him to the State Department. He had warned his government again and again what a declaration of Unrestricted Sumarine War might do, but declare it they had, and now it fell to him to deliver the message. And at this of all moments, when the accession of a new President offered the chance of a fresh start in German-American relations. The Ambassador felt like weeping.
To be continued
In 1943, on this day Walt Disney Studios released the animated cartoon Der Fuehrer's Face. Originally intended to serve solely as an anti-Nazi propaganda piece for the American war effort, the film was hugely popular, voted #22 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons and winning the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.
Der Fuehrer's FaceFifty-three year old cartoonist Adolf Schicklegruber originated the design concept, placing his own career on an upward trajectory. Not so for Donald Duck, whose depiction as a reluctant Nazi would mark the end of the line for this particular character. The Disney Corporation even kept the movie out of general circulation until an official U.S. video release in 2004, when it was included in the Walt Disney Treasures limited edition DVD set Walt Disney.
In 1735, on this day the silversmith and renowned loyalist Paul Revere (pictured) was born in the North End of Boston.
A post from American Heroes thread.
A Nightmare on King StreetRevulsed by the lynching of British Redcoats on King Street in 1770, he converted to the loyalist cause, later serving with distinction in the Massachusetts Volunteers at the Battle of Long Island and the capture of New York City.
Despite this exemplary military service and not to mention his famous engravings of the Boston Massacre, it was his "midnight ride" that turned him into an iconic hero.
Revere helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the patriot militia. In service as a messenger to the crown on April 18, 1775 he received intelligence that one William Dawes had set off to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the movements of the British Army, which was beginning a march from Boston to Lexington, ostensibly to arrest Hancock and Adams and seize the weapons stores in Concord.
Anticipating a bloody confrontation like King Street writ large he set off on horseback to warn the King's regulars that they would be met by formations of patriot militia. Due to his tireless energy, wiser heads prevailed and Adams and Hancock were left to enjoy their liberty, for the time being at least.
In 2002, with American troops on the ground in Afghanistan, backed up by air support, President Gore goes on national television to inform the American people.
Gore Under Fire by Eric LippsHe continues to insist that the U.S. incursion is not aimed at Kabul, but only at Al Qaeda's operation within Afghanistan's borders. What he does not tell them is that there are troubling reports that Al Qaeda cells outside Afghanistan may be readying attacks against Gulf-region governments friendly to the U.S. Intelligence analysts warn that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are particularly at risk.
President Gore's revelation that U.S. military forces have entered Afghanistan is pursuit of Al Qaeda triggers fierce controversy.
Many in both parties in Congress are angered that he has taken this action without consulting them first. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts says, "I supported Al Gore in the 2000 election. When the dispute over its results was resolved in his favor, I was relieved, for I believed his would be a steadier hand than that of his opponent. His unilateral decision to launch a war, however--and make no mistake, that is what he was done--reveals a troubling recklessness which I fear will cost this nation dearly". The aging Democratic icon is applauded, even by some GOP colleagues who almost never agree with him.
In the media, Gore's action splits both conservatives and liberals, with some on each side approving and some condemning the Afghan intervention. Among opponents, liberals tend to agree with Kennedy's charge of recklessness, while on the right, fire-breathers such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter snarl that Gore is merely trying to 'look tough' and will find some way to 'surrender to the terrorists,' as Limbaugh puts it on an installment of his radio program.
Vice-President Joseph I. Lieberman responds to the critics by asking, "What would you have us do? We were attacked on our home soil. Americans were killed, and many more would have died if our law-enforcement agencies had not managed to intercept some of the would-be attackers. We know where those who planned this slaughter are hiding, and we know they'll try again if we give them a chance". Privately, some of the invasion's harshest critics suggest that in defending the invasion the VP is more concerned with the interests of Israel, of which he has been an outspoken supporter, than with those of the United States.
In 1972, on New Year's Day, bombings rattle Havana.
Batista flees Havana by Eric LippsTo the disgust of U.S. occupation commander Gen. William Westmoreland, a shaken President Fulgencio Batista flees the city. U.S. troops are dispatched to "escort" the Cuban president back to the capital, where he receives a dressing-down from Gen. Westmoreland concerning his "cowardice".
The American commander is unhappy with Batista for another, more fundamental reason as well: his inability to put an end to the Castro insurgency despite the massive U.S. military and intelligence support he has received since his restoration to power.
Unwittingly anticipating a line later used in America, Westmoreland warns Batista that the seemingly unending rebellion is "a cancer growing on your presidency".
On this day in 1945, Allied troops in Germany attacked Wilhelmshaven in what would later be known as "the New Year's Day offensive".
On this day in 2007, certain resident of London phoned Scotland Yard to report an intruder in his house; when police arrived on the scene they discovered the intruder to be a giraffe which had been hiding in the man's loft for several days. When questioned, the man vehemently stated that he had not invited the giraffe into his house and that it was keeping him awake all night.
across the timelines, Dr. Richard Tolman and his crew of dimensional travelers battle to close the hole that has been torn across the barrier between parallel universes. One by one, his people are sucked into the great void, until he is left alone, and only the force of his own will stands between him and oblivion.As he floats in the wormhole that threatens to devour all the known universes, Tolman sees the beginning and the ending of the universe merging into one, and feels a presence share the void with him.
The beings formerly known as Sarah and John Thompson, one from the beginning and the other from the end of the universe, take notice of Tolman's plight and make the sacrifice that is necessary to replace the barrier between the universes. When Tolman comes to, he is back in his office in Berkeley. On a piece of paper in front of him are rough notes detailing a paper on parallel universes. He crumples the paper, tosses it in his wastebasket, and never gives the matter another thought.
In 1962, Pete Best, just starting his rise up the music world's ladder, signed with Capital Records. His former band, the unknowns called The Beatles, were rejected by Decca Records after an abysmal audition.
In 1952, the New Reich forms the Eurasian Union to coordinate their control over the disparate countries they have conquered in their war against the Greater Zionist Resistance and their Asian and African allies. It is largely a rubber stamp for German programs, created to give the appearance of international support for them.
In 1905, a ship is detected coming from the Mlosh homeworld. Long-range scans indicate that it is neither of the vessels sent by the Congress of Nations. A general alert is ordered for all military forces in the solar system.
In 47,425, BCE a young girl of a tribe in central Africa conceives of a unique idea; she can make hundreds of sounds, each easily distinguishable to the human ear. She thinks that if she attaches a specific sound to an idea, or to a thing, that she would be able to communicate her very thoughts to other people. The first sound she designates is for herself, and she calls herself Telka, the Speaker.
After (cont.) ~ It was crowded in the jeep. Eli had a fake National Guard uniform, but no one else was comfortable with him being visible to the world. So, everyone but Jake and Kevin hid under tarp until they were well out of Austin and rushing towards Bryan. When Kevin gave them the all clear, they came out of the tarp sucking down air as if they had been buried.
'So, how long a trip is it to Bryan?' George stood right behind his father, eagerly taking in the countryside.
'Couple hours, Kevin told him. 'We'll be there before you know it.'
True enough, the trip went quickly and smoothly. There was no traffic, and they saw no Guard units until they were approaching Bryan. The unit that they passed didn't even ask them for their papers, but just waved them through. Kevin then started directing Jake through a few back roads to his house, where they drove up to the sound of a dog barking. Kevin immediately hopped out and quieted the dog. 'Sorry I was gone so long, big guy', he said, patting the dog on the head. He looked over at the food and water bowls he had set out, and they were both empty. He let the dog out of the fenced yard as the crowd exited the car. The dog ran over and sniffed them all, while Kevin told them, 'Don't worry, he's really nice. That didn't seem to calm Mike and Eli, who kept as far away from the dog as they could. Kevin opened up the door to his house and he and the dog ran in, followed by the others. Eli took a quick look around at the other houses on the road, but no one seemed to be watching them, so he shut the door and joined the others.
Kevin busied himself with feeding his pet, and Janice sat down at his PC. 'Hey, computer man, do you need to check this thing for spyware and such before I turn it on?'
Kevin looked over at her, ready to tell her to just do it, but caution hit him. 'Hang on. He finished filling up the dog's dish and walked back to the living room and examined the case of his computer. No additional hardware had been added to the back, so he pulled out his tools and opened the case. He found nothing inside, either. 'It's clean', he told Janice.
Mike walked over to her and told her, 'You're not gonna make a direct connection anywhere, are ya?Janice paused, her fingers just touching the keyboard. 'Can you reroute me to throw 'em off?'
Kevin put a hand to his chest. 'How badly are you going to screw up my computer?'
'Relax, moneybags, you can buy another one.'
Kevin gave up and flopped down on the couch in front of the TV, with Steph and George. 'At least they're not showin' the emergency lady anymore', George said. The channel was on a cartoon.
Jake, Eli and Joan were all crowded into Kevin's small kitchen, raiding the meager contents of his refrigerator. The dog sniffed patiently at their backs, hoping for a few scraps to fall. They piled the food onto his kitchen table and dug in.
Kevin looked over at Steph, who looked back at him and smiled. 'Not how you planned your first day back as a millionaire, huh?'
'Nope.' He smiled back. 'Parts of it are nice, though.'
She turned away, but was still smiling. 'We're goin' to Roswell from here?'
'That's what they said. Apparently, John Kerry was in New Mexico when it all went down, and he started rallying people around him. President-elect, and all. He couldn't hide the disgust in his voice.'
'He's a good man', Steph said. 'A hero.'
'That's not true, Kevin said, shaking his head. 'All those swift-boat guys were talkin' about what a lie that was.'
Steph pursed her lips and phrased her response carefully. 'I think you need to reconsider who you get your truth from', Kevin.
About to launch back with a response straight from talk radio, Kevin bit his lip and thought better of it. He looked around at his crowded house and said, 'I'll try to keep an open mind.'
They turned their attention back to the TV, and the sun rose outside while the group in the kitchen satisfied their hunger and the pair at the computer got news from the underground. Kevin was starting to think about taking a nap when the emergency broadcast signal startled them all.
The emergency lady came on and said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, there is miraculous news from Waco this morning. President Bush survived the attempt on his life and has been rescued by Texas Guard units searching through the rubble of his ranch. According to the Guard, the president is in excellent shape, and plans to address the nation later today.
In 1960, Senator Joe Kennedy, Jr. threw his hat in the ring for the Democratic Party?s presidential nomination. Kennedy's inspiring tale of recovery from injuries suffered in a horrific plane crash during World War II made him a natural choice, and he won the nomination handily. He had a little more difficulty defeating Vice President Nixon in the general election, but squeaked by with a margin of half a million votes.
In 1903, after appointing a black postmistress to the post office in Indianola, Mississippi, President Roosevelt sent reinforcements along with her to ensure that she would be able to do her job. Roosevelt's commitment to the civil rights of the African-American population of America gave him a hitherto unmeasured degree of support in the south. His Civil Rights Act of 1904, ensuring the voting rights of blacks across America, is credited with landing him his unprecedented 3rd term of office in the election of 1908.
In 870, the infidel rulers Ferdinand and Isabella fall to the righteous forces of Caliph Boabdil. Allah saw fit to give the Moors control of Espagne, and from there, a foothold on the rest of Europe, so that His word might reach the poor northerners who had not heard Its beauty.
In 1979, punk rocker Sid Vicious goes on trial for the murder of his girlfriend/manager, Nancy Spungen. Vicious attempts suicide several times during the trial process, until he is finally placed into custody and put under a suicide watch. He is found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in 2002, a shell of his former self.
In 1905, the Japanese attack on Port Arthur is frustrated by the arrival of Russian reinforcements. At one stage it looked as if the Tsar would be humiliated by defeat, but after Port Arthur, the Russo-Japanese war drifted into a stalemate.
In 1837, Britain takes possession of Michigan Territory following conclusion of a treaty with native tribes. Native tribes are granted exclusive possession of a large tract of the territory, angering white settlers who had hoped to take possession of all of the territory's land. Native-owned lands are to be incorporated as Detroit Territory; the remainder will become the Crown Colony of Michigan.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford vetoes the Privacy Act, passed by Congress in reaction to the excesses of his predecessor Richard M. Nixon.
Justifying his action, Ford says, "Although I understand Congress wanted to rein in the executive branch to prevent abuses, I believe that with our nation at war, with American boys still dying not only in Southeast Asia but in a Communist-threatened nation ninety miles off our own shore, I cannot support tying the hands of our investigative agencies. Subversion is a real threat, and we must take to hand whatever tools we can to keep it from harming us".
Ford's veto is met with anger on Capitol Hill.
The incoming Ninety-fourth Congress, in which the President's party will have thirty fewer seats in the House and six fewer in the Senate, will include numerous freshman members elected on promises to 'clean up the mess' from Watergate, including Nixon's controversial domestic espionage operations, and even some veteran Republicans will privately concede that the veto sends the wrong message.
On this day in 1990, deposed Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, who along with his wife Elena had escaped Bucharest seven days earlier, was arrested in Switzerland while attempting to secure political asylum at the North Korean embassy in Geneva.
In 1954, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) is formally reorganized into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In keeping with the ostensibly peaceful purposes of the new organization, it will be under civilian rather than military control, a choice which angers some in the Pentagon who saw President Eisenhower's commitment to space as a bonanza for the Defense Department.
Dr. Thomas Keith Glennan of the Atomic Energy Commissions is named first NASA Administrator. By mid-March, after two months of bureaucratic infighting, NASA is finally staffed and offices established in Washington and Huntsville, Alabama. The Huntsville facility will do much of the early development work on the satellite.
In 1959, the government of strongman General Fulgiencio Batista in Cuba falls to left-wing rebels led by former law student Fidel Castro. General Batista escapes to Miami.
Reaction in the U.S. is swift and hostile. Over the next few months, the Eisenhower administration will organize and launch a semi-secret campaign of economic sabotage and military raids, operating out of bases in the United States, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Under the supervision of Vice-President Nixon, right-wing Cubans who have fled their island country are organized into a secret army in preparation for an invasion, which they will spearhead but the U.S. military is to support, aimed at 'freeing' Cuba.
Unaware of Ike's covert destabilization efforts, Senator Joseph McCarthy will lose no time in going to the media to blame the Eisenhower administration for the fall of Batista. 'We can choose to believe that the Administration is incompetent,' he thunders, 'or that it is riddled with traitors, as was the Democrat administration of Truman before it, or both. There are no other choices.'
Even as the administration's plans go forward, the Wisconsin senator will keep up his assault. A fuming Eisenhower has no choice but to let him, in order not to expose the anti-Castro operation.
In 1808, the Africa Act, passed by Parliament the previous October, goes into effect, banning the African slave trade and empowering British naval vessels to intercept and impound slave ships on the high seas.
The Act inspires fury in the slaveholding American colonies, sparking talk of a new rebellion.
In 1958, after a number of embarrassing public failures, the U.S. finally orbits an artificial satellite, Explorer I.
Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had demanded a congressional investigation after the Soviets beat the U.S. into space the previous October, rushes to take credit. 'This is what happens when you hold these eggheads' feet to the fire,' he says at a news conference.
McCarthy's comments fuel resentment among space scientists and the Senator's colleagues on the Hill, who will band together to strip him of authority over the Sputnik inquiry he had instigated and to change its focus from rooting out 'traitors' in the scientific community to building up America's scientific and technological infrastructure.
In 1800, under the terms of a Franco-Spanish treaty, New Orleans, which had been a Spanish possession since 1763, is returned to France. This has the effect of placing a second colony of expatriate American rebels under the protection of the French crown. Britain, which had been reluctant to risk war with both France and Spain to pursue these 'traitors,' begins seriously considering a war to seize Louisiana.
In 1966, counter-revolutionary reactionaries shut down the New York City subway system in a protest against the New York Soviet's freezing of subway worker's wages. Capitalist sympathizer John Lindsay, organizer of the strike, was arrested by Mayor Michael Quill and charged with anti-American activities.
In 1946, Pascal-Edison develops the prototype model for what will become their desktop difference engine. This model, known as Eniac, was never released, but was the template for the eddie that became known as the Univac.
In 1959, President Fulgencio Batista is overthrown by Fidel Castro's forces during the Cuban Revolution. The United States became increasingly hostile to Cuba during 1959, driving Castro away from the liberal elements of his revolutionary movement and into the arms of Nazi Germany. Just three years later the Nazis would site nuclear weapons less than 100 miles from the United States, leading the World to the brink of Armageddon
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.