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

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January 18

In 1889, the Thompson family is visited by their ancestor, Mikhail von Heflin. He has come specifically to see their newborn boy Willard, and convince them that it would be unwise to leave the Hill Country for Beaumont, as they have been planning. He is successful, and spends the next two years with the family, watching over young Willard as he grows.
In 1943, the German Underground establishes the death camp of Treblinka in Poland. It becomes the final destination for the most famous captives of the G.U. and its public executions are used to rally the G.U.'s supporters and intimidate its enemies. While some of the more bloodthirsty within the Underground's ranks celebrate it, virtually the entire world condemns and fears it.
In 1776, rebel Joseph Habersham of the so-called 'Provincial Congress attempts to place Georgia's royal governor, James Wright, under arrest. Wright, however, escapes to the nearest British garrison and returns with a huge force to squash Habersham and his 'Council of Safety.'
In 1644, a Mlosh scout ship is seen over the Boston colony in Massachusetts. It is thought to be an angel coming down from Heaven by the colonists, and many of them dropped to their knees in supplication to it. The Mlosh scouts observed the British colonists for some time, learning their language in order to prepare the Mlosh who would follow them almost a century later.
In 1486, a year after wresting control from Pope Richard III's cold, dead hands, Pope Henry VII wed his cousin Elizabeth of York, uniting the feuding Plantagenet line of clergy. There was some question about the wedding, as Elizabeth's brothers Edward and Richard were more than likely murdered by him to clear his ascension to the Papacy of the Holy British Empire. In her diaries, Elizabeth seems to detest both Henry and the life of a papal consort, but remains loyal to Pope Henry until her death.
In 1000 Post-Creation, when the Creator calls upon His angels to stand against Gabriel, Lucifer begs Him for mercy for Emmanuel. When the Creator says that someone must be punished for this transgression, Lucifer offers himself up to appease the Creator. 'My rebellion planted the seed for theirs,' he says. 'Let my punishment absorb your anger.' Reluctantly, the Creator agrees to Lucifer's bargain, and Gabriel lays down arms as Lucifer takes Emmanuel's place in the Abyss.
In 2093, the United Nations Commission for the Survival of Life on Earth (UNCSLE) abandons the practice of cryopreserving endangered species for future generations. Energies are re-directed at ensuring that there will be future generations at all.
In 1947, en route to Reykjavik, Iceland Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King asks the Head of the British Government in Exile if he intends to accept the Nazi surrender terms . 'I would rather run with wolves' says Lord Halifax somewhat elliptically.
In 1995, hundreds of people were feared dead and thousands injured after a powerful earthquake struck Japan at dawn. Worst hit was the port of Kobe, a city of 1.5 million. Whole buildings, apartment blocks and an elevated highway collapsed killing at least 200 people and injuring some 13,000. Osaka and the ancient city of Kyoto were also severely damaged. The earthquake measured 7.2 magnitude and was the biggest to hit Japan for 47 years. It struck at 0546 local time just as commuters were starting their journey into work. The event occured exactly a year after a similiar earthquake in Los Angeles. Fifty years after the Tunguska Impact Event, the embedded singularity was still creating havoc for the Earth's tectonic plates. The planet continued to convulse with asymetric shocks lead many to fear for a Millennial apocalypse.
In 1991, in Kuwait & Iraq, Operation Desert Fly centred upon a dual military application of the pioneering work of Seth Brundle. US Ground Forces were teleported into strategic battle points. And the Iraqi Presidential Guard were decimated by soldier flies. President George Bush spoke of the 'end of history' as the world's only hyper-power appeared set for global domnation.
In 1991, Israel joined the Gulf War after Iraq attacks Tel Aviv and Haifa with Scud missiles. It was the first time Tel Aviv has been hit in the history of the Israel-Arab conflict. Saddam Husssein had succeeded in provoking the Israel leadership both through these bombings, and also by establishing linkage between Kuwait and Palestinian nationhood.
In 1781, Thomas Gainsborough completed his masterpiece The Two Georges, depicting King George III and General George Washington's historic agreement which established the British North American Union. The Sons of Liberty considered Washington a turncoat. Two hundred and fifteen years later they would succeeed in snatching this symbol of national unity just before the arrival of King Charles III's visit to the State capital of Victoria.

In 1977, Gary Gilmore, the convicted murderer, was executed on this day by firing squad in the Utah state prison in Salt Lake City. It was the first execution to have been carried out in the United States for almost 10 years. Gilmore, 36, was sentenced to death for the murder in 1976 of a motel clerk in Provo, Utah. An appeals court in Denver overturned a restraining order on the execution in the early hours of this morning. In his closing words, one of the judges emphasised that Mr Gilmore should take responsibility for insisting that his own execution go ahead.

 -

The death penalty had been controversially reinstated in the United States in 1976 and Gilmore was the first prisoner to be executed under the new law. Gilmore fought the justice system to ensure he would be executed quickly - had already spent 18 of his last 21 years in jail.

It soon became clear that Gilmore had cheated death to engineer his own release. Two people received Gilmore's corneas within hours of his death. Utah medical staff were unable to explain this phenomenom, instead recommending fast-track treatment. They both responded positively, with the same form of words - 'Lets do it'.

In 12-8-1-11-16, the sailors of Ouezteca met the Kingdom of Hawai'i. Captain Quetchook of the Imperial Navy, the first westerner to see the Hawai'ians, entered into a treaty with King Kalaniopuu for exclusive trade, and made himself a wealthy man from the agricultural bounty of the island kingdom.
In 1977, NASA complete the impact analysis for the delay Space Shuttle program. Columbia (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-102) would be the first spaceworthy space shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet, and its first mission, STS-1, was reprogrammed for quarter two, 1981. Trouble was SkyLab had entered a dangerous orbit. If no further action was taken, SkyLab would re-enter the Earth's atmosphere sometime in 1979 and almost certainly break up on entry. The plan works and SkyLab is shifted into a higher orbit. But the 1982 mission from the Shuttle is a disaster and the Soviet Union has to rescue the American astronauts. Their success sets a precedent that was established with Apollo-Soyuz, and the the two nations merge their Space programs.
In 1601, a Royal Proclamation was issued and a Lubeck merchant, Caspar van Senden, licensed to remove all 'negroes and blackamoores' from Great Britain. There was a fear that the Africans might be taking jobs away from English citizens and also a concern that they were 'infidels'.
In 1971, South Dakotan Senator George McGovern, a hero of World War II, began his campaign for the presidency as the candidate of peace. Using his background as a bomber pilot, McGovern argued that Vietnam represented no strategic value to the United States, and should be free to determine their own future. A nation sick of the war agrees with him, and he defeated Richard Nixon in a landslide.
In 1971, British spacecraft Marie Celeste prepared to re-enter the atmosphere after mechanical failures had been fixed. Or patched up, really. They really had to do something about this quality control problem for next time. The ill-fated Apollo 13 mission had been too much trouble, it really had.
in the Dreamtime , the pale ones came, as Anansi had foretold. Many seasons passed in torment at their hands, but the people were strong, and the lost ones in the sky were waiting for them. Anansi gave them strength, and his web gave them escape when it was needed.


January 17

In 1706, on this day America's first president, Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts Bay. This article is part of the American Heroes thread.

Birth of President FranklinHe was a major figure in the American Enlightenment before joining the patriot cause. Matched only by George Washington amongst the Founding Fathers, he was the universal choice when the General declined the Presidency [1].

And yet his term of office ended in bitter acrimony. Because in February 1790 he gave his full public support to Congressional petitions submitted by Quakers and also the Pennsylvania Abolition Society [2]. Consideration of a National Emancipation Plan was demanded, but the abolitionists were out-foxed by that master of parliamentary procedure James Madison. He ensured that the Committee Report was revised by the House, creating a legislative precedent making it unconstitutional to "attempt to manumit them [the eighteen-year moratorium on Congressional action to abolish slavery] at any time". In his diary an unhappy General Washington noted that "the slave issue has [been] put to rest but will soon awake" [3].

Franklin was of course fully aware that the Philadelphia Agreement had taken the power to abolish slavery out of the hands of the Northern States until at least 1808 when the slave trade itself was expected to end. Nevertheless he knew that the institution of slavery was incompatible with the principle of liberty established by the revolution, and therefore the possiblity of secession from Deep South States was an acceptable risk for the infant Republic. Private letters later revealed that he was absolutely convinced that Georgia and South Carolina were bluffing.

His death therefore opened up a whole series of debates. Obviously the need to move the ownership of legislative precedent into a much stronger Supreme Court, perhaps the need for the Churches to own the issue of slavery as a sin requiring national purging. But instead his "Farewell Address" he characteristically took the higher ground, calling for Presidential Leadership on the issue up until 1808 when the moratorium on the slave trade would expire. This was viewed in the Deep South as a warning of the possible creation of a North Atlantic Confederacy which would exclude slave-owning states at a minimum Georgia and South Carolina.

In 1893, Republican Presidential Nominee Governor Rutherford Birchard (B) Hayes passed away in Fremont, Ohio. He was seventy years old.

Passing of Governor HayesAs an attorney in Ohio, he became city solicitor of Cincinnati from 1858 to 1861. When the Civil War began, he left a fledgling political career to join the Union Army as an officer. Hayes was wounded five times, most seriously at the Battle of South Mountain; he earned a reputation for bravery in combat and was promoted to the rank of major general. After the war, he served in the U.S. Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a Republican. Hayes left Congress to run for Governor of Ohio and was elected to two consecutive terms, from 1868 to 1872, and then to a third term, from 1876 to 1877.

He narrowly lost the general election. Samuel Jones Tilden was awarded the presidency of the United States by an 8-7 vote of an electoral commission established to resolve the disputed 1876 election. Tilden won after the defection of a single Republican commission member forced the commission to evenly divide the disputed electoral votes of three Southern states rather than, as the other Republican members had wanted, awarding them all to GOP contender Hayes. Had the dissident member voted with his fellow Republicans, Hayes would have won, by 185 electoral votes to Tilden's 184.

The "back-room" character of this decision lent force to a movement to abolish the Electoral College, and in 1901, the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would do exactly that, establishing direct election of the president. Ironically, U.S. senators would not be directly elected until the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913; until that time, they would continue to be chosen by state legislatures.

In 2011, on this day Apple, Inc.'s Board of Directors approved a third medical leave of absence requested by Steve Jobs.

The Baton is PassedTim Cook the professional head of Worldwide Sales and Operations had served as Apple CEO for two months in 2004, when Jobs was recovering from surgery for pancreatic cancer. In 2009, Cook again served as Apple CEO for several months while Jobs took a leave of absence for a liver transplant.

Therefore it was something of a major surprise when it was announced that the new CEO would be Jonathan ("Jony") Ive the forty-three year old Senior Vice President of Design and Cook would continue to run the day-to-day operations as COO. Jobs had always considered Ive to be his "spiritual partner at Apple," while Fortune magazine stated in 2010 that Ive's designs have "set the course not just for Apple but for design more broadly".

In 1972, on this day Herr Tony Weaver, Community Relations Manager of Volkswagen of America handed over the latest model to the Smithsonian Institution.

The American Bund on the MoveThe award symbolized three decades of industrial integration, with the Peoples Car cruising the autobahns of the American Bund.

However the event was ruined by members of the Semitic-African Resistance who revealed that like much of the Nazi Empire, the VW was an ephemeral aryan myth. Because Ferdinand Porsche ripped off the vehicle design from the the Tatra Factory in Czechoslavakia during the pre-Nazi era of the 1930s.

In 2001, on this day outgoing US President Albert Gore, Jr. issued a formal apology to the descendants of Captain Meriwether Lewis.

Meriwether Lewis Defeats Muggers, Redux By Ed, Scott Palter and Jeff ProvineOn the night of 11th October, 1809 he rested at the "Grinder's Stand", an inn on the Natchez Trace, seventy miles south-west of Nashville, Tennessee. But after leaving dinner, he retired only to be savagely attacked in his bedroom. He managed to drive off the unidentified muggers, but immediately discovered that they had made off with the journals that he was carrying to Washington, D.C. for publication.

Of course not long after his death in 1846, the "secret journals of Capt. Lewis" appeared. This narrative of the Lewis and Clark Expedition described the Corps of Discovery finding giants, the fountain of youth, and a tribe of "nearly white, blue-eyed" Indians descended from Prince Madoc of Wales.

Clearly at odds with the known facts, this account was of course a naked challenge to westward expansion. Conspiracy theorists suggested that the muggers were agents sent by the Federal Government to cover-up the truth of advanced indigenous civilization predating Columbus, but mainstream historians [1] suggested that too many people had traveled westward with Lewis and Clark for such revelations to be concealed.

In 1912, suffering from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold, members of Roald Amundsen's expedition were saved from certain death by Robert Falcon Scott's "Terra Nova" scientific mission.

British Scientists save Norwegian ExplorersThe Britons had been collecting meteorological data all the way to the pole when they found the Norwegians.

Paying tribute to the heroic age of Antarctic Exploration, both Governments also heralded the rescue as the embodiment of the growing sense of internationalism that was shaping the twentieth century.

In 1961, during his "Farewell Address," President and former Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, as well as first Supreme Commander of NATO, Dwight D. Eisenhower confirmed that his administration had done its part in limiting what he called the "military-industrial complex".

Eisenhower Confirms Restrictions of a Military-Industrial ComplexIn the 1950s, the United States was in the midst of an ongoing arms-race with the Soviet Union that had continued to maintain unprecedented levels of troop mobilization despite the end of the Second World War. Fear of the spread of Communism fueled government contracts for new and better technology, giving birth to supersonic jet engines and even an artificial satellite in orbit of the Earth. However, during his administration, Eisenhower became concerned over the amount of public funds and interest tied into simply maintaining readiness for a war against Communists who, in Russia, were under collective leadership since the death of Stalin in 1953 and, in China, suffered under accidental famine from ill-planned agricultural Five-Year Plans. The Korean War had shown that conventional warfare mixed with modern politics to create a stalemate, and Eisenhower decided to keep the stalemate overt with America's readied nuclear arsenal capable of Mutually-Assured Destruction.

Citing examples from the 1956 work by sociologist C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite, Eisenhower's new policy turned to limiting the abilities of lobbyists in "The Higher Circles" who had direct influence and adding new levels of visibility to policy-creation as well as methods of direct review and polling upon budgetary issues. Numerous figures said that the policy was watering-down the leadership of America in tough times as Khruschev seized power in the USSR, but those such as Senator Robert Taft loudly questioned the ethics of those he considered fearmongers and warhawks. The FBI gained a new office investigating potential illicit lobbying, and numerous contracts between the government and large businesses were allowed to run out. The military gradually began to downscale, and research was limited to grants to universities only with direct proof of public benefit. Proposals, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which would largely guide civilian space efforts, were kept to what was pertinent given the defense of the United States.

In Eisenhower's last speech, he commented on having cleaned house in Washington and limited the possibility of special interests to dominate Congress under the table. Many believed that if anyone but the highest-ranking general in American history to become president since Washington had tried to decrease military-industrial spending, it would have blown up in his face. Ike's successor, John F. Kennedy, continued the regulation of Washington spending, preferring to use politics rather than numbers to maintain diplomacy. The standoff in the Cuban Missile Crisis proved that MAD was enough to limit Soviet threats to the United States. Some called for a Space Race after the Russians had put Sputnik into orbit as part of the festivities of the International Geophysical Year, but Kennedy noted that American missions to space would be the realm of private enterprise, much like the settling of the West.

As the twentieth century continued, the Domino Theory proved true with Soviet and Chinese power extending through Central and Southeast Asia, respectively. However, within a generation, the USSR had overextend itself with uprisings in Iran and Afghanistan as well as in old Eastern European trouble spots of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Local resistance drained the authority of Moscow, which would collapse in the late 1980s, while China transformed itself with experimental limited capitalism and made acquaintance with the United States during the Nixon era.

By the end of the twentieth century, the world had changed drastically to what many considered a Pax Americana. There were certainly threats, primarily through terrorism, but international policing agencies as well as FBI were tasked with finding and capturing the nation's enemies. Meanwhile, everyday Americans continued improved lives as private funding took up where public funding had left off. As of the year 2000, radio systems are able to incorporate "mobile" phones as long as they were tied to a power source, such as a car. Personal computers have come into many homes, and many technologists predict a network of integration (or "Internet") in the coming decades, though the investment required would be staggering. Meanwhile, rocket-launching companies have established a number of satellites in orbit to study weather and relay communications, while others hope for a manned mission to the Moon, although it would need to prove to be economically viable.

In 1981, on this day the Patriotic Liberation Movement (PLM) achieved its first major strategic victory in its uprising against the Communist regime in Russia.

Second Soviet Civil War Part 2In a surprise late-night attack, rebel forces blew up a critical section on the Trans-Siberian Railway, seriously disrupting the flow of supplies to government troops defending the port city of Vladivostok. With bad weather grounding Soviet air force transport planes, government forces defending the city had few if any alternatives for getting food and munitions; within a matter of hours PLM forces had broken through the Red Army lines, and by 6:30 AM the next morning PLM troops had taken full control of Vladivostok with help from local civilians sympathetic to their cause. Three Red Army divisions were subsequently dispatched to retake the city from the rebels, but the offensive collapsed in the face of heavy PLM resistance -- in fact, one of the three divisions was completely wiped out and the other two were forced to withdraw after taking severe losses.

A new post from the Necessary Evil Thread by Chris OakleyDespite the Chernenko regime's best efforts to hide the truth about Vladivostok, word of the Red Army's defeat there filtered to the Russian public via Voice of America's Russian-language broadcast service, seriously undermining the CPSU's prestige both at home and abroad. As the Russian civil war went on Vladivostok would become a rallying point for the PLM and its supporters in their struggle to overthrow the Communists; by 1983 it had also become the PLM's central base of operations and would remain so until 1987, when the victorious PLM leadership relocated to Moscow to assume control of the Russian government in the wake of the Communist dictatorship's collapse.

In 1463, on this day Frederick the Wise, Holy Roman Emperor was born in Torgau, Saxony.

Birth of Frederick the Wise, Holy Roman EmperorAfter the death of Archduke of Austria, King of the Romans, and Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in January of 1519, many of his titles went directly by inheritance to his Habsburg grandson Charles V. The title emperor, however, would be given by decision of the seven elector-princes of the Germans, Albert of Mainz; Richard von Greiffenklau zu Vollrads of Trier; Hermann of Wied of Cologne; Frederick III of Saxony; Joachim I of Brandenburg; Louis V, Elector Palatine; and Louis II Jagiellon, King of Bohemia. Charles was most obvious choice as brother-in-law to Louis of Bohemia, but others were nervous about too much power being placed in one man's hands. Along with his grandfather's titles, Charles had also recently inherited the title "King of Spain", which he ruled alongside his mother, Joanna the Mad of Castile.

Francis I of France also wished to hold the powerful title, rejoining lands that had all once been Carolingian. Francis and Charles were bitter rivals since a French victory at the Battle of Marignano the year before brought the twenty-one-year-old Francis to the forefront of European politics. The two began a bribing war for votes, which made some electors all the more nervous.

The suggestion of eliminating outside influence arose, and Frederick II of Saxony (called "the Wise") was offered the election. The task would be monumental and place him at the forefront of politics among much wealthier and more powerful figures, but Frederick determined it to be the right path and agreed. To the dismay of Francis and Charles both, Frederick was elected.

Problems quickly arose in the empire. The knights of Rhineland rebelled, using Protestant rhetoric to rally their people against the growing "new money" as Feudalism began to break down. Frederick met with the knights and created the Diet of the Germans to address issues. The Diet was proven successful as the communistic Peasants' War was put down and undercut by expanding religious freedom to the growing factions of Protestants. Germany became a powerful center to the new Europe, but would eventually be torn apart into its smaller kingdoms due to religious strife.

In 1991, on this day the general offensive codenamed Operation Desert Storm was launched with a massive air campaign; during the first mission at 2:38 A.M eight AH-64 Apache helicopters, and two MH-53 Pave Low helicopters destroyed enemy radar sites near the border at 2:38 A.M.

War in the GulfAt 2:43 A.M. two EF-111 Ravens with terrain following radar led 22 F-15E Strike Eagles against H-2 and H-3 airfields. Minutes later one of the EF-111 crews - Captain James Denton and Captain Brent Brandon - destroyed a Dassault Mirage F-1, when their low altitude maneuvering led the F-1 into the ground. At 3 A.M., ten F-117 Nighthawk stealth bombers under the protection of a three-ship formation of EF-111s bombed the enemy capital.

In a statement of supreme confidence bordering perhaps on arrogance, George H.W. Bush would appear for a press conference on his Crawford Ranch to announce that the first mission of the Gulf War had "run on rails" The President's enemies viewed this "grandstanding statement" as a cynical attempt to justify his Government's authorization of the use of military force. Worse, a deliberate attempt to shift the focus of the conflict away from the struggle for control of vital oil supplies. Click to watch Operation Desert Storm: Bush Announces Ground War

The seeds of the conflict were sown when the Republic of Texas was created from part of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas as a result of the Texas Revolution. Mexico was in turmoil as leaders attempted to determine an optimal form of government. In early 1835, as the Mexican government transitioned from a federalist model to centralism, wary colonists in Texas began forming Committees of Correspondence and Safety. A central committee in San Felipe de Austin coordinated their activities. In the Mexican interior, several states revolted against the new centralist policies. The Texas Revolution officially began on October 2, 1835 in the Battle of Gonzales. Although the Texians originally fought for the reinstatement of the Constitution of 1824, by 1836 the aim of the war had changed. The Convention of 1836 declared independence on March 2, 1836 and officially formed the Republic of Texas.

On February 28, 1845, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that would authorize the United States to annex the Republic of Texas. On March 1, U.S. President John Tyler signed the bill. The legislation set the date for annexation for December 29 of the same year. Faced with imminent American annexation of Texas, Charles Elliot and Alphonse de Saligny, the British and French ministers to Texas, were dispatched to Mexico City by their governments. Meeting together with Mexico's foreign secretary, they signed a "Diplomatic Act" in which Mexico recognize an independent Texas, with boundaries that would be determined with French and British mediation. Texas President Anson Jones forwarded both offers to a specially elected convention meeting at Austin, and the Mexican proposal was accepted with only one dissenting vote.

During the American Civil War, Texans fought upon both sides of the conflict. Despite the tensions this created in the young nation, Texas remained a border-line viable state right up until the discovery of oil. Then on January 10, 1901, a well at Spindletop struck oil ("came in"). At 100,000 barrels (16,000 m3) of oil a day, the gusher tripled oil production overnight in North America. Tension with Texas' northern neighbour became acute during the late twentieth century and by 1991, the Gulf War of Mexico was widely anticipated.

In 1861, the so-called "Crittenden Compromise" is narrowly passed by the U.S. Congress, averting the threatened secession of slaveholding southern states.

The Crittenden Compromise by Eric LippsThe Compromise, proposed by Kentucky Sen. John J. Crittenden (pictured) the previous December, is highly controversial. In its original form, it included several constitutional amendments which effectively locked in slavery forever where it then existed, made all laws in free states which interfered with the Fugitive Act or similar legislation unconstitutional, forbade Congress from interfering in the interstate slave trade or from abridging slavery in areas under federal control within a slave state, and extended the Mason-Dixon Line at 36o30' across the continent to the Pacific. Slavery was to be forever legal below that line. Only this last provision and the prohibition against federal encroachment on slavery in slave-state territory under federal control have survived, in effect cutting North America in two sections, slaveholding and non-slaveholding, and leaving the issue of fugitive slaves an open source of contention.

Also abandoned, despite furious lobbying by southern congressmen, was the provision that the Compromise could not be overturned by any constitutional amendment adopted thereafter. A nasty floor fight in the Senate over this issue nearly sank the Compromise, which was rescued only when Crittenden and Mississippi's Jefferson Davis came to an agreement that the Compromise could be altered or ended by constitutional amendment but not by any federal law or resolution.

Outgoing President James Buchanan welcomes "this peaceful resolution of the trouble between the sections of this country, which might otherwise have had to be tried by force of arms". Others warn that the issue has not been settled, and that Buchanan's trial by arms has merely been postponed. Among them is President-elect Abraham Lincoln, who declares, "A nation cannot forever endure half-slave and half-free". Lincoln's statement sets the stage for what will be a turbulent presidency.

In 2006, the U.S. National Archives noted that today marks the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth (January 17, 1706-April 17, 1790). During his life, Franklin had many careers including service as a diplomat, a printer, a writer, an inventor, a scientist, a lawmaker, and a postmaster, among others. In his later years he became vocal as an abolitionist and in 1787 began to serve as President of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. The Society was originally formed April 14, 1775, in Philadelphia, as The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage; it was reorganized in 1784 and again in 1787, and then incorporated by the state of Pennsylvania in 1789. The Society not only advocated the abolition of slavery, but made efforts to integrate freed slaves into American society.The End of the Silence
Franklin did not publicly speak out against slavery until very late in his life. As a young man he owned slaves, and he carried advertisements for the sale of slaves in his newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette. At the same time, however, he published numerous Quaker pamphlets against slavery and condemned the practice of slavery in his private correspondence. It was after the ratification of the United States Constitution that he became an outspoken opponent of slavery. In 1789 he wrote and published several essays supporting the abolition of slavery and his last public act was to send to Congress a petition on behalf of the Society asking for the abolition of slavery and an end to the slave trade. The petition, signed on February 3, 1790, asked the first Congress, then meeting in New York City, to 'devise means for removing the Inconsistency from the Character of the American People,' and to 'promote mercy and justice toward this distressed Race.'

The petition was introduced to the House on February 12 and to the Senate on February 15, 1790. Joseph J. Ellis observed in his essay 'The End of the Silence' (published in the Founding Fathers, Random House, 2000) that the advocacy of James Madison was crucial in the ultimate success of the petition.

"If Franklin's great gift was an uncanny knack of levitating above political camps, operating at an altitude that permitted him to view the essential patterns and then comment with great irony and wit on the behaviour of those groveling about on the ground, Madison's speciality was just the opposite. He lived in the details and worked his magic in the context of the moment, mobilizing those forces on the ground more adroitly and with a more deft tactical proficiency than anyone else. Taken together, he and Franklin made a nearly unbeatable team. Fortunately, for the Union, in 1790 they were on the same side [Madison agreed with Franklin that slavery was an abrogation of the principles of the American revolution].

Madison's position on slavery was clear. He found the blatantly proslavery arguments 'shamefully indecent and described his colleagues from South Carolina and Georgia as 'intemperate beyond all example and even all decorum. Like most of his fellow Virginians, he wanted it known that he preferred an early end to the slave trade and regarded the institution of slavery 'a deep-rooted abuse'. He claimed to be genuinely embarrased by at the stridently proslavery rhetoric of the delegates from the Deep South and much more comfortable on the high moral ground of his northern friends".

On April 17, 1790, just two months later, Franklin died in Philadelphia at the age of 84. Emancipation was fully implemented during Madison's tenure at the White House from 1809 to 1817, ironically just after the expiry of the 1808 restriction imposed at the Constitutional Conference in 1787.

In 1986 on this day deposed Soviet ruler Grigory Romanov was indicted by a Moscow tribunal for allegedly sanctioning human rights violations and war crimes against captured PLM guerrillas during the Russian civil war.

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It was the first such prosecution of a Russian head of state in the country's long, tumultuous history; at the request of the prosecution UN observers were present to guarantee that the witnesses' civil rights wouldn't be violated.

The Romanov trial would prove to be one of the most contentious hearings of any kind ever held in a Russian court, so much so that at one point riot squads had to be deployed simply to make sure witnesses and attorneys could get in or out of the courtroom.

On this day in 1990, the former Securitate agent who had organized the Ceaucescus' escape from Romania was arrested in London.

 - Nicholae Ceaucescu
Nicholae Ceaucescu
After(cont.) ~
Mike pulled into the parking lot of the motel and killed the engine on the SUV. 'OK, let's see if we can find a way into New Mexico,' he said, tumbling out and heading to the back to get their things. Steph walked into the lobby and tried to look like a lottery winner. 'Hi,' the old woman at the counter said. 'Y'all just barely made it before curfew.' She took a look at the white man outside at the SUV and the black woman in her lobby, and said suspiciously, 'You gonna need two rooms?'
'Three,' Steph said, as bubbly as she could. 'One for me, one for my kids, and one for my driver.'
'Your driver?' The woman looked a little relieved, as well as curious.
'I won the lottery,' Steph said, smiling and laughing, just like she'd practiced in the car. 'What timing, huh?'
'Oh, my goodness,' the woman said, pleasantly flustered. 'Well, congratulations.'
'Thank you.' They stared at each other for a second before Steph prompted, 'My rooms?'
'Oh, yes, yes, mercy me.' The old woman took out a registry and looked for an empty. 'You want 'em all together?'
'If you've got them.'
'We do. Soon's people could leave yesterday, they skedaddled out of here like the devil was chasin' 'em. Y'all are the first people to show up since then.' She looked outside. 'Not that many people wanna be this close to the border with New Mexico.' She said the state's name with obvious contempt. 'Figures that all them immigrants would try to take it back, you know?'
'Mm-hmm,' Steph said, non-committally. 'My rooms?'
'Yes, ma'am.' The woman made a note and said, 'That'll be $142.50, please.'
Steph peeled a few notes off her roll, impressing the woman, and handed them to her. 'Keep the change.'
'Yes, ma'am.' The old woman surrendered the room keys and said, 'They're on the other side of the building here, by the pool.'
'Thank you.'
'You're very welcome.'
Steph walked back outside and handed a key to Mike and one to Joan. 'We're three together by the pool,' she told them. 'Let's get into the rooms, set our things down, and then we'll get together in Mike's room to look at the map.' She looked at Mike. 'Sounds like a plan?'
'You're the boss,' Mike said, smiling.

On this day in 1971, the Dallas Cowboys won their third Super Bowl under Tom Landry, defeating the Baltimore Colts 17-13 to cap off a historic 17-0 season; Dallas starting quarterback Craig Morton was named Super Bowl MVP.

The Cowboys' undefeated streak would later extend into the first five weeks of the 1971 NFL regular season before being snapped with an overtime loss against the New England Patriots in Week 6.

Super Bowl MVP
Super Bowl MVP - Craig Morton
Craig Morton

It is only a beginning, always. The young must know it; the old must know it. It must always sustain us, because the greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain. ~ Final televised Address to the Nation from the Oval Office on January 17, 1977.

 - Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon

Rationalising his narrow escape from censure over the Watergate Scandal during the critical period July - November 1973.

On July 13, 1973, Donald Sanders, the Assistant Minority Counsel, asked Alexander Butterfield (Deputy Assistant to the President) if there were any type of recording systems in the White House. Butterfield answered falsely that there was no system in the White House that automatically recorded everything in the Oval Office. The shocking revelation that there was such as system emerged during the Carter Presidency and radically transformed the historical view of the crisis - but by then, it was too late with the tapes long since removed from the White House.

Public reaction was still hostile with protestors standing along the sidewalks outside the White House holding signs saying 'HONK TO IMPEACH,' and hundreds of cars driving by honking their horns. Allegations of wrongdoing prompted Nixon famously to state 'I am not a crook' in front of 400 startled Associated Press managing editors at Walt Disney World in Florida on November 17, 1973. Much like the famous Chequers Speech of twenty years before, Nixon succeeded in cauterising the wound with a direct appeal based upon his personal integrity.

Ultimately, the American public's respect for the Presidency was again exploited by Trick Dicky to pull off yet another incredible escape. A transcript of Nixon's speech is described at the History Place.

We face a hostile ideology [communism] global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose and insidious in method ... [warning about what he saw as unjustified government spending proposals] [that] we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by ... .. [Ike leans forward for emphasis] the congressional military industrial complex... Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together ~ Final televised Address to the Nation from the Oval Office on January 17, 1961.

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The 'iron triangle' refer to an institutionalised collusion among defense contractors (industry), The Pentagon (military), and the United States government (Congress, Executive branch), as a cartel that works against the public interest, and whose motivation is profiteering.

Congressional leaders saw it, they requested that he remove the word 'Congressional' - Eisenhower refused as the point was central to the warning he was giving. A synopsis of Eisenhower's speech is described at Wikipedia.

On this day in 1956, Sandy Koufax notched his 150th NBA career assist in a 91-86 Celtics win over the Fort Wayne Pistons.

 - Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax
In 2005, after a long conversation with the woman who knocked at her door, Jeanna Best and Dave Lange agree to follow her down to a south Austin warehouse. Here, they meet a few other people, including Representative Carl Worthington. The meeting isn't led by him, however - a small woman gets up to speak to everyone and tells them that they are there because they are the real humans, and the world is being invaded by three-fingered aliens. Best and Lange leave the meeting as soon as they can.
In 1969, 20 neo-Nazis, led by Astrid Pflaume and Kurt Weimer, are sent back in time. The team led by Astrid Pflaume will organize a cadre of Jewish fighters to simulate a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, while the team lead by Weimer will be in charge of organizing a Nazi resistance to them. Unfortunately for the neo-Nazi's goals, Pflaume's team is far more successful than Weimer's.
In 2232 AUC, the Empire of Mali in Africa declared war on its northern neighbors of Rome. The Republic had been encroaching on Malian territory for decades, and the settlement of a small town on Mali's eastern border by Romans was the final straw. The war between Mali and Rome lasted almost seventeen years, and killed millions in Africa and Europe.
In 2008, Mikhail von Heflin takes a boat into the storm brewing off the Bermuda coast to the spot where he saw a ship vanish the previous day. The water is choppy, but not unmanageable. He extends his senses, and does feel something strange about the area, but can't lock down what it is. He returns to shore and decides to wait until his wife can join him to investigate further.
In 2005, Chelsea Perkins and Alma May Watson battle Elsbeth Danwich and a partially materialized demon for the life of Geraldine McRae of the Council of Wisdom. With the final wish in her Three-wish Bag, Perkins sends Danwich and the demon to the netherworld and closes the portal. Only after they have freed the councilor does she realize that they have no way home. Together, the two women and the young girl begin walking away from the sacrificial plain.
In 1904, a full-scale ambassadorial mission takes off for the Mlosh homeworld. It carries Ambassador Li'Kanto'Mk of the Congress of Nations, as well as a full military detail. They fly in a fast, well-armed and armored ship, and are prepared for anything that awaits them; or so they think.
In 1860, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov was born in Taganrog, on the Sea of Azov. His comedies of manner helped the noble class in Imperial Russia forget the troubles of the day like the crushing poverty of the serfs and the communist agitation of the Americans. His last play, Good Comrade Wilson, was a skewering indictment of the communist system as practiced by America.
In 1000 Post-Creation, Emmanuel encourages the two humans to procreate, causing the Creator to turn his attention back to earth. Emmanuel, who had thought he was going to reign in Heaven, now faces a life of servitude, and wished for a human companion of his own. The Creator casts him into the Abyss, and Gabriel takes up arms again.
In 1944, a turning point in the Great Patriotic War is reached when troops of the British Oblast accept the surrender of General Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Paulus as the siege of Londongrad is finally raised. Within two years Tsar Alexei Nikolaevich and his British Cousins will accept the surrender of Nazi Germany at Luneberg Heath, establishing Romanov hegemony across the continent of Europe.
In 1977, the television series What's Goin' On premiered on ABC as a mid-season replacement. Starring unknowns George Winfield and Nancy Carter, the situation comedy became a huge hit and sparked raft of urban-themed copycats such as What's Happenin', What's That, What? and What's Up. While the quality of the shows was critically poor, it did have the beneficial effect of placing more minorities on television.
In 1966, an American B-52 crashed on Spain's coast after colliding with a jet tanker. The bomber created an international incident, as Spain seized it and its nuclear weapons within minutes of the crash, leading to some speculation that they had been responsible for the crash by jamming transmissions from the two planes in flight.
In 1966, a fascist power gains a nuclear weapon when Spain recovers an H-bomb from a wrecked American B-52 off their coast. When Franco's scientists make their own bomb based on this one, the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the western powers thaws; in a newly expansionist Spain, they see a common enemy.


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