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

January 21

In 1813, on this day in Savannah, Georgia the "Great Pathfinder" John Charles Frémont was born more than two thousand miles away from the then Mexican Province of California which he would later serve with ignominious distinction as the Golden Bear Republic's inaugural President.

John Frémont
1st President of California
March 4, 1846 - 1849
The causal event was the declaration of an independent Republic in Alta California by a group of American settlers in Sonoma. At the outset of this so-called "Bear Flag Revolt" he was hand picked by the US President and Secretary of State who provided him with verbal orders to conceal their direct involvement in the Revolt. It was a poor choice, because they believed him to be a suitably daring officer when in fact he would be better described as "over-bold". Worse, it was mistake because, Frémont was a maverick, a loose cannon who could not be trusted to operate at arms length under any form of meaningful control.

Appointed lieutenant colonel he formed the grandiose-sounding California Battalion from his survey crew and also local volunteers. It was partly a bluff to fool Mexico into overestimating the size of his forces, but it was also a de facto self-appointment as theatre commander and liberator.

Insofar as he could be said to follow the instruction of others, Frémont then broadly adhered to the orders of Commodore Robert F. Stockton by leading a military expedition of three hundred men in the capture of Santa Barbara. A few days later he led his men southeast toward Los Angeles, accepting the surrender of the leader Andres Pico.

Unknown to Frémont and the Bear Flag supporters, war had already been formally declared but the news did not reach California until early July. Ironically the name of the frigate carrying the declaration was the USS Savannah which shared the name of the town of Frémont's birth in Georgia. Already over-zealous, the coincidence fired the imagination of the young officer who know decided he was the de jure leader of the the Bear Flag supporters.

Meanwhile his window of opportunity was beginning to shut. U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny had orders from the U.S. president and secretary of war to relieve Frémont and serve as governor. Fate played Frémont a hand. Unwilling to withdraw from the south-west, Mexico refused to cede the territory to the United States, instead accepting compensation from Great Britain who then set up an quasi-independent Republic/British protectorate headed by Frémont.

It was a bad choice, because Frémont was a "show-boater" who was temperamentally unfit to govern. Disregarding the advice of the British military attache, he allowed himself to be provoked by events stage managed in southern Texas which provided the US with a fresh pretext for intervention. It would be his successor, and former Commander, Robert F. Stockton who would have to fend off the United States' second and more determined attempt to seize the territory.

Historians portray Frémont as controversial, impetuous, and contradictory. Some scholars regard him as a military hero of significant accomplishment, while others view him as a failure who repeatedly defeated his own best purposes. The keys to Frémont's character and personality may lie in his illegitimate birth, ambitious drive for success, self-justification, and passive-aggressive behavior perhaps the three attributes best used to describe the new nation that he had founded.

In a, move that surprised the world, the United Nations has announced that is is turning all of Jerusalem over to the Disney Corporation. "Everyone is happy all the time in any Disney theme park", proclaimed Abbas and Netanyahu, as they returned from their state visit to Walt Disney World. "And we both want our people to be happy, too".

The Happiest City on EarthFlanked by Mickey Mouse in an Israel Defense Force uniform and Minnie wearing a burka, the leaders explained, "As we all know, the possession of Jerusalem has been a major roadblock to the two-state solution that both sides have been seeking for so long. We have both rejected the Vatican's offer to supervise the Holy City, but who could refuse a proposal to make the Holy City into the Happiest City on Earth?"

With typical Disney efficiency, the attractions are scheduled to open within a month, starting with "Great Moments with Isaac and Ishmael", "Pirates of the Mediterranean", and "It's a Small Continent". Aladdin and Jasmine will be on hand to personally welcome visitors to the Dome of the Rock, while Timon the Jewish meercat will greet guests at the Western Wall, along with his friends Pumbaa the Wart Hog and Simba the Lion King of Judah.

The only possible problem is that admission is expected to cost 10,000 shekles and drachma a day.

In 1867, on this day a male Habsburg heir was finally born to Maximilian I of Mexico and his wife the Empress Consort Charlotte of Belgium. Inevitably the previously childless royal couple turned their attentions to the future, becoming more cautious in their decision-making as they set about building a lasting dynasty. An article from the multi-author American Mini-states thread.

Dutch Courage Part 7Maxine was thus the nephew of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I although his father's kingship was entirely due to the intervention of a benefactor - Napoleon III who had sought to establish French rule of Mexico. Against the odds their Second Mexican Empire lasted long after the collapse of the House of Bonaparte. And their continued existence into the second decade of the twentieth century was mainly sustained by the colonial ambitions of the Austro-Hungarian empire (Maximilian himself having been an officer in the Austrian Navy).

Until the Summer of 1915, the American mini-states avoided direct entry into the Great War and therefore Mexico although an Austro-Hungarian client state was technically a non-belligerent power. But then came the outraged backlash to the sinking of the Lusitania a passenger ship which had been shuttling between the bustling ports of Nieuw Amsterdam and Liverpool. Anger towards the Central Powers ran deep. Nieuw Nederlander President Theodore Rosevelt made his fateful visit to Washington to join forces with the United States. And their joint declaration of war also brought the battlefield of conflict to the Americas when they chose to offer military support to an anti-Habsburg Republican populist. A chap by the name of Pancho Villa.

In 1994, while driving to the airport in Damascus, Basil al-Assad, the eldest son of the President of Syria was critically injured in a car accident that slowly drained him of his health and finally took his life during the "Arab Spring".

Physician, Heal ThyselfOnly thirty-one years of age, the true extent of the injuries had not been fully revealed by the time his father passed away on June 10th, 2000. Nevertheless Hafiz al-Assad had taken the precaution of interjecting his hardass younger brother Maher into the Syrian power structure. A decade later, he was already running the government in all but name, and when his elder brother finally died he made his move.

Meanwhile their second brother, Bashar had fulfilled his father's dream of becoming a doctor. After graduating with a medical degree from Damascus University in 1988, he worked briefly as an army doctor before moving to England in 1992 for postgraduate studies in ophthalmology at the Western Eye Hospital in London. During this time, he also married Asma Akhas, a Syrian raised in London.

His brothers struggled to play the dangerous and delicate game of high politics, sometimes funding terrorists in Lebanon, at other times, permitting the United States to send terror suspects to Syrian prisons for interrogation and torture. Bashar managed to remain out of this madness, and his own involvement in high politics was limited to a lobbying role in London's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

However Maher's ascendancy, combined with the Arab Spring, changed everything. As a middle-aged academic returning to Syria for his elder brother's funeral, he was secretly contacted by Arab Spring activists. Acting on behalf of Sunni opposition figures, they explained that they wanted him as their front man for a new, interim administration that could manage a smooth transition and head-off the revolutionary potential of the new youthquake.

In 2000, suppose that Rehnquist's back pain became so severe that, due to surgery or narcotics, he was temporarily unable to fulfill his duties as Chief Justice?

William Rehnquist suffers crippling back pain in December 2000Blogging is probably going to be light today, so I'll pose a hypothetical question that may never be answered.

First, we know that the late William Rehnquist, the former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, did suffer from severe back pain for much of his career. Suppose that during the month of December 2000, Rehnquist's back pain became so severe that, due to surgery or narcotics, he was temporarily unable to fulfill his duties as Chief Justice.

On December 8, 2000, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide manual recount of all ballots cast in the Presidential election held the month before. The Florida recount, according to some, might have taken months to complete and certify. President Bill Clinton was scheduled to leave office on January 20, 2001.

An article from Popehat: A Group Complaint about Law, Liberty, and LeisureOn December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court ordered a halt to the recount, handing an effective victory along with Florida's electoral votes to George W. Bush in the still controversial case of Bush v. Gore. The case was decided by a vote of 5 to 4, with Rehnquist in the majority.

Now, if any Justice in the majority, let's say Rehnquist, had been unable to decide the case for any reason, the vote would be 4 to 4, leaving the lower (Florida Supreme) Court's decision standing. The recount would go on. Let's say until March.

Which leads to another question: Who would be President on January 21, 2001?

You are armed with a copy of the United States Constitution, the most authoritative document which purports to answer this question. And I'll submit that its answer is not at all clear. You may use any school of legal reasoning to decide this question. You will receive extra credit for explaining your answer in detail, whether by reference to text, history, statute, or case law (assuming that, unlike me, you can find an applicable statute or case)..

In 1793, on this day King Louis XVI of France was sent into exile.

Louis XVI Sent into Exile After giving military and monetary aid to the young republic in the Americas to humiliate her ancient enemy Britain, France would find herself upturned by revolution. Louis XVI had initially hoped that French troops could seize the United States after its war, but, in 1789, economic crisis brought famine, and the storming of the Bastille signaled an uprising as had not been seen in Europe for centuries. The elected National Assembly ruled alongside Louis in a constitutional monarchy that ate away at absolutist authority. That October, a mob of angry women marched on Versailles and joined with others to bring the royal family to the Tuileries in Paris where they would be held to higher accountability.

Louis and Marie Antoinette attempted to escape in 1791, but they were brought back and viewed with great suspicion by the people. A year later, the Brunswick Manifesto promised vengeance from Austria and Prussia if the king's family were harmed, which only furthered the poplar suspicion. It seemed now that the king not only cared little for his people, but was also willing to deal with foreign strength against them, as great an insult as the use of Hessian mercenaries in the Americas during their revolution. On August 13, Louis was officially arrested, and a month later the National Assembly abolished the monarchy and declared a republic.

While the king waited and war raged on the German and Italian borders, the revolutionaries forged themselves into factions competing for similar, though unique, goals. Question of creating a permanent constitutional monarchy may have been answered with the discovery of the armoire de fer hidden in the king's rooms, but the iron chest believed to be holding the secret documents of ministers' double-agendas was destroyed in a sudden fire.

Nonetheless, loud cries for trial on grounds of treason brought Louis to trial before a special Convention. A body of 721 deputies heard the cases and word of crimes against the state by the king, but the resulting vote was indecisive. The king was thought to have been invaluable as a hostage, but it was evident that the threats to his safety were raising the tempers of the crowns of Europe. After French victory at the Battle of Valmy, the Prussian and Austrian armies had retreated out of France, but they would certainly return as the spring campaigning season came. Finally the decision was made to use the king as a pawn in a bid for peace. It was an unpopular notion to many in the National Assembly, but the fiery writings and loud cries of the masses demanded peace.

Ambassadors were sent to Prussia, and discussions went into the new year. At last Brunswick spoke out over the Bourbons and assured peace with the French Republic provided that the royals were made safe. They agreed that he could be sent to a neutral court, and his relatives in Spain volunteered to host him along with a contingent of French guards who would make certain Louis would not be used as the banner for royalists to rally. By this point, it was obvious to those close to Louis that he was unfit for rule, devastated by depression and poor nutrition into an indecisive mumbler.

Peace came to France on February 1, 1793, while the other countries worked to put down their own republican insurrections. Demands of constitutions were met across Europe, ending the age of autocratic rule that had been best illustrated by France's own Louis XIV. The security and return to prosperity allowed France to quiet its extremists and organize its army into an effective force rather than the desperate mass-conscription that had been anticipated to fight off the hordes of Europe.

France came to notable stability as the eighteenth century dawned. Its colonies enjoyed great liberalization and became leaders in the abolition movement. Not all were happy, however, and the colony of Corsica rebelled in 1803 under native who had been trained in Paris as an artillery commander. After a decade of cunning ambushes, Corsica was granted independence in 1813. The revolutionary leader Napoleon Bonaparte would set himself up as king while the French looked on and laughed to themselves about those foolish enough to give up republican freedom for tyranny.

In 2010, on this day Brian Montopoli wrote this article in CBS News ~ John Edwards' admission that he fathered a child out of wedlock with videographer Rielle Hunter may not have shocked the world - Edwards had already admitted an affair with Hunter - but it does raise an interesting question: What if Edwards had won the presidency?

The Impeachment of John EdwardsCBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield notes that the timing of the scandal makes that unlikely - Edwards admitted the affair back in August of 2008, before the election, and the admission would have done serious damage to the candidate had he still been in the race.

"Had he been nominated, he either would have been forced off the ticket or would have staggered to November," said Greenfield. "Either way, I think, Democrats would have lost".

Still, had Edwards somehow overcome the scandal and won the presidency, it's interesting to think about the potential fallout from today's admission. Edwards consistently and adamantly claimed that he was not the child's father, even going so far as to invite a paternity test. That, we now know, was a lie. Edwards said in his statement that "it was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me".

Greenfield suggests Edwards would likely have been forced to resign the presidency over the admission. He adds that he would only be impeached, however, if campaign finance laws had been broken.

That may well have happened: Hunter's firm was paid more than $100,000 in connection with her work on the Edwards campaign, including about $14,000 that may have been attributed to a "furniture purchase". But it is not clear that Edwards technically broke the law.

As for the continuing interest in Edwards himself, CBS News Chief Political Consultant Marc Ambinder says that the reason the story "transcends the scandal press, and the reason why it remains so fascinating, is because there was a good chance - not a great chance, but a good chance, that this man could have been elected president".

"A man who lied to his staff, who was self-deluded, who had an unbelievable ego, who was reckless," says Ambinder. "Character matters; interpersonal conflict drives politics, but to anyone who blames the media for being too intrusive, all one needs to do is look back at the failure of the legitimate press to cover the rumors. And I can tell you - these rumors - we heard them".

Asked about an Edwards presidency, Ambinder compares Edwards to Bill Clinton, who was able to overcome at least one affair of his own.

"Bill Clinton was able to mostly compartmentalize his sexual indiscretions," he says. "Given the evidence we have, Edwards was much more openly reckless, and his ability to separate his personal pathologies from his professional responsibilities is questionable".

An interesting side note: Ambinder reports that Edwards' requestion to go to Haiti to help with relief efforts was "met with silence" by the White House, though Edwards went to the country anyway.

In 1981, on this day a Air Force VC-137 Stratoliner exploded in a ball of flame shortly after landing at the Rhein-Main Air Base in West Germany. But "Freedom One" was no ordinary commercial aircraft; onboard were the fifty-two American hostages who had been held at the Iranian Embassy for the last 444 days.

Iranian Hostage Crisis on steroidsAlso amongst the long list of fatalities was none other than the thirty-eighth President of the United States, Gerry Ford. Because incoming President Edward M. Kennedy had sent him as an emissary in order to welcome the hostages back into US custody.

Kennedy's predecessor was also a secondary victim of the crisis, albeit an electoral one. The right-wing of the Republican Party put Ford under acute pressure to take action. Protestors in Washington were calling for all Iranians to be expelled from the United States. And so Ford had unwisely authorised two ill-fated mission to rescue the hostages, Operation Eagle Claw and shortly before the election, Operation Credible Sport.

The first attempt, launched at the nadir of the crisis, ended in confusion and embarrassment in the desert due to mechanical problems with the helicopters. And the for the second, which used C130 Hercules transport planes modified with ricket assisted take-off and landing was an unmitigated disaster of the first magnititude. The personal bitterness caused by that second desperate attempt had been so acute, that the hostage-takers had decided to draw Ford into crisis at an even more personal level; in fact, they planned to kill him.
Click to watch documentary.

Back in Washigton, outgoing CIA Director George HW Bush (who sponsored both operations) was in the business of bringing to justice the criminals who had booby-trapped "Freedom One". And finding out precisely how the hostage-takers found out that Kennedy planned to send Ford to meet the hostages in Germany. High on the list of suspects was an Iranian student by the name of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In 2010, Hugo Chavez accused the United States of accidentally inducing a powerful earthquake off the shore of Haiti as part of its clandestine and increasingly desperate attempts to reduce the temperature of the Earth's core. The accusations gained further credence when less than a fortnight later, John S. McCain unveiled a $4tn federal budget under which the US deficit would spiral to a record $1.75tn.

Letting off SteamOver $250bn of funds earmarked for sending US astronauts back to the Moon had already been diverted to the HAARP facility located in Gakuna, Alaska, a project being personally overseen by Vice President Sarah Palin.

After receiving the nomination from the Republican Party, McCain had been informed that neutrinos from a massive solar flare were acting as microwave radiation, causing the temperature of the Earth's core to increase rapidly. Demanding "straight talk" from American geologists, a bold plan was presented, to trigger earthquakes in an attempt to let off steam from the Earth's core. At the heart of the project was a HAARP, an ionospheric research facility jointly funded by the US Air Force, the US Navy, the University of Alaska, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, capable of initiating anything, from earthquakes to rain, to draught.

In 1924, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, AKA Vladimir Lenin, died in Moscow.

Ulyanov had been in prison since his arrest for his role in the failed 1917 attempt by the so-called 'Bolshevik,' or 'Majority,' faction to seize control of the Duma, the parliament established following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II that February. The Bolshevik leader had been arrested July 3, along with Lev Bronstein (AKA Leon Trotsky) and tried for treason; he had escaped execution only because the Duma had outlawed the death penalty in March 1917.

 - Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin

On this day in 1969, the Apollo 4 flight crew performed the first translunar orbital docking manuver in the history of space exploration.

Following the completion of this maneouvre the Apollo 4 astronauts received a congratulatory phone call from US president Richard Nixon, who'd been sworn into office the previous day.


In 1985, Gary Hart of Colorado is sworn in as the fortieth president of the United States, succeeding President Edward M. Kennedy.

The inauguration, which ordinarily would have taken place on the 20th, has been delayed according to longstanding tradition against holding the ceremony on a Sunday.

 - Gary Hart
Gary Hart

In 1980, Massachusetts senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy announces he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Reaction is divided. Many liberals welcome Kennedy's entry into the race. With the Tehran embassy still occupied by Iranian militants, Kennedy's supporters are quick to point out that he had opposed the Rockefeller administration's decision to allow the exiled Shah of Iran to come to the U.S. for medical treatment, which is widely seen as having precipitated the embassy siege.


Conservatives, however, respond with a mixture of anger and contempt, accusing Sen. Kennedy of 'feeling entitled' to the presidency. Moreover, the subject of the Chappaquiddick incident of 1969, in which Kennedy was involved in a car accident in which a woman died, is immediately raised.

In 1963, after two and a half weeks of angry debate in the House of Representatives, Rep. Williams' bill of impeachment against President Kennedy is voted on. The bill passes, 219-216, despite furious lobbying by moderate and liberal congressmen and by Vice-President Johnson. The Vice-President fears that if he becomes president in the wake of Kennedy's removal via impeachment, he will be a political captive of Congress.


Anticipating that he will run for the presidency in 1968, he prefers to come to the office as at least Congress's equal. Flushed with success, the House's conservative bloc prepares to vote on Chief Justice Warren's impeachment the following day.

In 1969, Astrid Pflaume gave her first report about her operation to the neo-Nazis financing her. Although she had only been gone 4 days by their time, she has been in the field for 5 years. She is surly during the debriefing, more to used to giving commands now than obeying them. Wilhelm Schoemann begins to suspect that her heart is no longer on their side.

In 1977, Massachusetts senator Edward Moore Kennedy is sworn in at noon as the 39th President of the United States of America.

Media coverage features numerous sentimental retrospectives on the 'Camelot' days of Kennedy's brother, President John F. Kennedy, whose assassination in 1963 remains a national trauma. There are plenty of critics of the incoming president, however: he is despised on the Republican right for his liberal views, and has even been criticized by the Catholic Church, of which he is a member, for his support of the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which struck down legal bans on abortion.


In 1953, conservative Republicans hail McCarthy's attack on Eisenhower, whom they have distrusted all along as a representative of their party's "Eastern establishment".

Before the week is out, there will be talk of running the Senator against the General in the 1956 GOP primaries.

Eisenhower - US President
US President
In 2005, Jeanna Best and Dave Lange, after a couple of days of observing people's use of their hands, get together at his apartment and compare notes. They have both become decidedly paranoid, because they have actually witnessed the 'claw-like' behavior that they had been warned about in the Save Earth meeting. Best plaintively asks, 'What's going on?'
In 2001, the breakaway soviets of the northwest, the People's Republic of America, invade the California Soviet and occupy San Francisco. They hold the northern portion of the soviet until the Soviet States of America cut them off by invading Washington Soviet, forcing the P.R.A. to withdraw their troops in order to defend their own territory.
In 1985, conservative activist Ralph Shephard begins his first term of office. He had delayed his swearing in until the 21st because he refused to conduct state business on a Sunday. In his inaugural speech, he promised to end the dishonor that had gripped the nation since the loss of the Vietnam War, declaring, 'A year of great decisions is approaching. A historical task of unique dimensions has been entrusted to us by the Creator which we are obliged to carry out.'
In 1862, British police arrest a man in Marbury for trafficking in explosives illegally. During interrogation, it is revealed that he is the source for most of the conventional explosives that have been used by the Human League. This is both good news and bad news for the British authorities; the good news is that they have cut off that supply of explosives to the terrorists. The bad news is that they move up to more powerful weapons from there.
In 1183, Velma Porter and Mikhail von Heflin emerge from the swirling rip in the time/space continuum of the coast of Bermuda. They manage to swim to the shore, but both quickly realize that they are no longer in 2008. 'That's the last time I let you plan our vacation,' Porter tells von Heflin. They begin walking inland from the coast to see if there is any civilization on the island.
In 1077, the Tuscan Bishop Hildebrand begged forgiveness of Pope William I for his heresy in challenging the Pope's directive that all clergy in the Holy British Empire should be approved by him. Bishop Hildebrand continued to defy Pope William, even declaring himself the Pope once, until His Holiness had him arrested and executed by the Papal Guard.
In 902, Lebuin's Christian forces, now down to less than a hundred, break down the defenses of Rhonwen's fortress by the sea and storm into the castle. Their numbers are further reduced by deadly traps inside the fortress that have been devised by the wizards of Wales, and the pitiful handful that manage to stumble out of the keep alive are driven off by the combined forces of Merlin's dragon and Atticus' golem. Lebuin vows to return with a stronger force and destroy the wizards.
In 1000 Post-Creation, Gabriel takes the human woman Eve again, and one of his female angelic cohort, Lilith, takes the male, Adam. The Creator sends His arch-angel Michael down to them to punish this further transgression, and Michael casts Gabriel and Lilith down to the Abyss. Lucifer, angered at their willful disregard for his sacrifice, leaves the Abyss and, with all the might he has been given by Yahweh, seals the opening to the lake of fire, trapping Gabriel and Lilith there.
In 2004, the Soviet Union's Martian colony is hit by a gigantic sandstorm. Their underground facility is saved, but the above-ground facility is totaled. They are forced to request aid from the American and European colonies, who escaped the worst of the storm. The destruction of the facility marks the end to an era - it had stood since the Soviet Union had first landed on Mars in 1975.
In 1926, strongman and actor Steve Reeves was born on his family's farm in Montana. After gaining popularity in Italian films playing Hercules, he made a move to more sophisticated roles as the spy James Bond in Dr. No. He retired from the role after 4 feature films and from acting in general afterwards, occasionally making cameo appearances in television and film in the 70's and 80's. After spending the 90's raising horses and promoting drug-free body-building, he returned for one last role as a gladiatorial mentor in the Ridley Scott film Gladiator. He died the day the film premiered in 2000.

January 20

In 1732, the third President of the United States Richard Henry Lee was born on this day in Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia.

Birth of the SquireNicknamed "the Squire" to distinguish him from his Stratford cousin Richard, he enjoyed the priveleges of being a scion of the wealthy "Lees of Viginia. Accordingly he was appointed justice of the peace in Westmoreland County in 1757. A year later he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he met Patrick Henry. An early advocate of independence, Lee became one of the first to create Committees of Correspondence among the many independence-minded Americans in the various colonies. In 1766, almost ten years before the American Revolutionary War, Lee is credited with having authored the Westmoreland Resolution which was publicly signed by prominent landowners who met at Leedstown, Westmoreland County, Virginia on 27 Feb 1766. This resolution was signed by four brothers of George Washington as well as Gilbert Campbell.

In August 1774, he was chosen as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. In Lee's Resolution on the 7th of June 1776 during the Second Continental Congress, Lee put forth the motion to the Continental Congress to declare Independence from Great Britain, which read (in part):

Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.
Because of this eloquence he was the assured choice to author the Declaration of Independence, an appointment that propelled him into the inner circle of the Founding Fathers. Accordingly he also served a one-year term as the President of the Continental Congress, and was a United States Senator from Virginia from 1789 to 1792, serving during part of that time as one of the first Presidents pro tempore. And in 1800 he beat the incumbent John Adams in the third Presidential election.

In 1985, on this day the thirty ninth President of the United States of America Edward Moore ("Ted") Kennedy left office. An article from the No Chappaquiddick by Eric Lipps in which EMK's car only almost went off that bridge on July 18, 1969. Continued from Part 1.

POTUS TedK leaves the Oval Office
No Chappaquiddick Part 3 of 3
As President, he had championed a number of causes, including health care reform, education and the environment, resulting in, among other things, the passage in 1984 of the Medicare Prescription Drug Pricing Act empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

He also faced a number of crises, including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. His decision to selectively support the secular elements of the anti-Soviet mujaheddin anger U.S. conservatives, already bitter at his decision in 1979 not to permit the deposed Shah of Iran to come to the U.S. for treatment for lymphoma, opposed even by his own CIA director, Stansfield Turner. Kennedy's critics favoured the Islamic fundamentalist factions, which they felt were more strongly anti-Communist. Also enraged would be many of those fundamentalists, including a Saudi expatriate named Osama bin Laden, who would go on to form the terrorist network known as Al Qaeda. In 1993 and again in 2001, this group attempted spectacular attacks against the U.S. The first attack, involving a powerful car bomb parked in the basement of the World Trade Center, did limited damage to the Trade Towers, resulting in six deaths; the second would be thwarted altogether after then-President John McCain responded forcefully to warnings that Al Qaeda was planning another strike against the United States.

After leaving the White House, President Kennedy resumed his Senate career and continued to advocate for his favourite causes, though his support would prove insufficient to overcome GOP opposition to the Nunn Administration's 1993 AmeriCare proposal for national health coverage. He also took a firm position on Nunn's proposal for creating an anti-terrorism Internal Defense Administration. This led to a falling out with Presidential-hopeful Al Gore. The split between Kennedy and Gore on this issue strains what had been a friendly relationship between the former President and the Senator. Ex-President Kennedy had been quietly favoring a Gore run for the presidency in 2000, but will grow cooler on the idea following this episode.

He died on Tuesday, August 25th 2009 having battled with brain cancer for almost eighteen months. He was survived by his second wife Victoria, two grown sons, Edward M. Kennedy Jr. of Branford, Conn., and United States Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island, two stepchildren, Curran Raclin and Caroline Raclin, and a sister, Jean Kennedy Smith.

In 2013, just one hour ahead of the sunset deadline required by the US Constitution, the swearing-in of Mitt Romney was finally conducted in the unlikeliest of locations, the resort city of Las Vegas.

So help me GodDue to an excess of weather caused by a solar flare, the President-elect had been trapped on the West Coast. Finally, the weather itself had permitted him to set off but the electrical storms meant that the prospect of making it to the Capitol soon receded sharply.

The rumour mill had then kicked in, suggesting that he was heading to Salt Lake City to be sworn-in with his hand on a Mormon bible. True or false, time began to run short and the Romney Party was forced to land in Las Vegas to complete the oath of office. It was a far cry from the smooth transition promised on the President-elect's web site.

In 2013, on the day at the inauguration of Romney-Biden, both office holders pledged to work together to build the bipartisan support necessary to stop America going over the "Fiscal Cliff". An article from the Deadlocked 2012 Election thread.

Deadlocked Election prevents America going over Fiscal CliffIn a deadlocked election, both Presidential candidates Obama and Romney had won 269 of the 538 electoral votes divided between the states. This result had thrown the outcome of the presidential race into the House of Representatives, which must name the president in the case of a tie. A Romney victory was assured because Republicans had kept control of the House in the election. But the vice presidency was decided in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats maintained their majority and therefore Biden was selected after he caste the deciding vote for himself.

Ironically given Romney's pledge to work across the aisles as he had as Governor of Massachussets, this unique opportunity to solve the Federal Debt Crisis raised a fresh challenge, for each side to accept that dirty word - compromise. During the summer of 2011, outgoing President Obama had appeared tantalisingly close to gaining agreement on a Grand Bargain with Speaker of the House John Boehner. However the agreement had foundered in acrimony with Boehner disparaging business with the Obama White House to "[dealing with] a bowl of Jello". But of course ultimately what was required was for both sides to abandon orthodoxy and accept a trade[1]: cuts in benefits (Medicare,Medicaid, Social security etc.) and domestic spending for tax increases (more revenue, not dancing games on nominal tax rates) and defense cuts. And the real issue, was that each side had wanted the other to feel the pain. The moment of truth had now arrived; sick of a divided (and perhaps dysfunctional) government, the American voting system had delivered an outcome that MIGHT force each side to commit to work together toward a negotiated solution.

In 1265, the end of the English kings came at the hand Simon de Montfort (son of a French crusader who became Earl of Leicester through his mother's bloodline), who himself married Henry III's sister Eleanor in secret.

De Montfort's Parliament Ends English MonarchyThis was yet another point of strife in the kingdom as the barons of England protested the marriage, as Eleanor had been widowed of the Earl of Pembroke, and they demanded that their opinion on such an important marriage should have been asked even though Henry had given his permission. De Montfort and Henry themselves had a falling out when de Montfort used the king's name as security on a loan, and, after Henry discovered this, he told de Montfort, "You seduced my sister, and when I discovered this, I gave her to you, against my will, to avoid scandal". The feud caused Montfort and his wife to flee England in 1239, going on crusade and being offered the regency of France before returning in 1253 to make peace with Henry.

The peace would be a shallow one, however, as de Montfort began to lead the argument against Henry's demand for a subsidy of royalty from the barons. While de Montfort continued to support Henry on foreign affairs such as undoing pledges to the Pope, he determined that Henry's domestic policies were causing disapproval among all English, especially barons. In 1258, a parliament was called at Oxford, where de Montfort worked with the barons to ease the troubles between them and the king. There, he became more enfranchised with his fellow barons, but he did not approve wholeheartedly of the oligarchy created by the Provisions of Oxford, which gave the barons tremendous power in a Council of Fifteen to control domestic affairs. Henry was forced to take an oath on the Provisions, but, in 1261, he was granted a Papal Bull that nullified his vow. Civil war erupted three years later as the barons rallied under de Montfort to force the king to loosen his grip on the country, and the Battle of Lewes in 1264 gave a staunch victory to de Montfort when he captured both Henry and his son, Edward Longshanks.

With the king under guard and many of the barons his direct allies, de Montfort became the de facto ruler of England. He established a triumvirate with the Earl of Gloucester and the Bishop of Chichester, whom he controlled, and a new Parliament, which became unique in its inclusion of burgesses from economic boroughs as well as the knights of counties and in that de Montfort demanded all members be chosen by election, with the vote available to any man who owned land with the value of an annual rent of 40 shillings. The extension of power to the lower classes upset many of the barons, but de Montfort had hope in his state-building by unifying the peoples of England on a wide scale. Further barons distrusted de Montfort's alliance with Llywelyn, Prince of Wales, who took advantage of the English war to affirm the independence of Wales, weakening the Marcher Barons' holds there.

De Montfort felt his control of the nation slipping, so he decided to use power fully before it could vanish from him. Upon the opening of the Parliament, de Montfort pushed through a bill stripping Henry III of his title of king based on treason for canceling his oath from Oxford. A second bill established that England should have only a prince for its foreign affairs, which meant Edward Longshanks would never become more than a figurehead. Many of the barons balked, and several began to conspire against de Montfort, but he assured his legacy by promptly dispatching Edward from the kingdom to go on crusade and imprisoning Henry until his death. Edward, who had agreed with the Provisions of Oxford initially, determined he would be content until at least he was not surrounded by de Montfort's trusted (and armed) guards while in a foreign land.

Without a royal for his enemies to rally behind, de Montfort secured his power, primarily by his new enfranchisement of the growing middle class of England. When Longshanks arrived back from crusade in 1272 after the death of his father, he attempted to overthrow de Montfort's new permanent Parliament with barons who wished to gain back their power, but the grassroots support had grown firm and further aid flowed in from Llywelyn of Wales and Longshanks' brother-in-law, Alexander III, King of Scotland, who had also struggled against the power of an English king under Henry. Longshanks was again captured, and de Montfort stripped his title by act of Parliament as he had done with Henry, making Longshanks' quieter brother Edmund the new Prince of England. Edward Longshanks would live out his life under house arrest.

England settled into a sense of quiet prosperity and growing trade, sharing Britain with Wales and the Kingdom of Scotland, which underwent its own crisis after a string of deaths in 1286 and resulted in the leadership of the Guardians of Scotland. In 1306, Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland, and Scottish rule would eventually spread over the whole of the British Isles after the Black Death swept through the trade towns of England in the fourteenth century.

In 1969, on this day a rousing rendition of "If I Can Dream" sung by Elvis Presley closed out the first inauguration of Robert F. Kennedy as the 37th President of the United States.
Click to listen to the 1968 Comeback Special.

A Sky More Blue Peace and understanding comes to AmericaIt was an appropriately chosen song for two main reasons. Firstly, the expression of the widely held sentiment that American had become materially richer, but spiritually poorer during the sixties. And secondly, the hope that Americans could "become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again".

In a sense a flaming torch had been passed this time around because the noble causes of his elder brother's 1960 election had deteriorated into intractable moral dilemmas for the more complex world of the 1970s. And the prospects of say delivering true social justice for African-Americans or beating the Viet Cong were looking extremely bleak, despite the optimism of the campaign trail where deliriously excited blacks, Hispanics and white students had grasped at him so hard that his hands bled.

And yet there was good cause for hope that the haters might not win out. Not only had Kennedy narrowly survived an assassination attempt in the Ambassasor Hotel, Los Angeles. But also because alongside the new Secretary of State Eugene McCarthy he had managed to navigate the perils of the Chicago Convention. And sieze the nomination despite the very best of efforts of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the President who loathed him.

In 1968, speaking on the steps of St Mary's Hospital in Madison, Wisconson, Otis Ray Redding, Jr shocked the crowd of fans who been anticipating his release by announcing that he was "planning to leave this world" of music.

King of SoulFive of the six members of Redding's backup band, "The Bar-Kays" had been killed when his twin engine Beechcraft plane crashed into the icy waters of the Squaw Bay area of Lake Monona on December 10th.

He had swapped seats with Ben Cauley and was sitting directly behind the co-pilot's seat before falling asleep on the flight clutching his seat cushion. He awoke when he realized he could not breathe. He said that he then saw band mate Phalon Jones look out of a window and say "Oh, no". He unbuckled his safety belt which ultimately allowed him to separate himself from the wreckage. As the impact tore a wing off the small Beechcraft, the fuselage was torn open and Redding was able to bob to the surface as he clutched his seat cushion. Bassist James Alexander survived because he had taken a different flight as there was not enough room left on the plane.

He had been warning fellow artists that he was "planning to leave this world", which seemed on first listening to be the meaning of "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" recorded only three days prior to the crash. During his recovery, Redding had experienced something of a religious awakening, deciding that he would seek a new life in Christ.

During the ninteen seventies, he would lead a spiritual revivalist movement that would electrify America. When he left office in 1977, President Robert F. Kennedy would pay tribute to Redding for his pivotal role in "binding up the wounds among us to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again".
Click to listen to Kennedy's "Mindless Menace of Violence" Speech.

In 1969, Robert F. Kennedy was sworn in as the thirty-seventh President of the United States today, bringing a final end to a tumultuous campaign season that threatened to split the Democratic Party.

RFK Sworn In a story by Andrew Beane Kennedy took the oath of office with his wife Ethel Kennedy holding his family Bible to a verse that his brother John quoted as thirty-fifth President: Luke 12:48, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked".

Though reluctant to run for the Presidency, Robert Kennedy was convinced to run by friends and family, and by the disastrous campaign in Vietnam, which culminated in the February Tet Offensive. Though criticized by some in the Democratic Party as an opportunist who was exploiting President Johnson's failures in the war against the communists in South Vietnam, Kennedy contended that Johnson had not only failed the soldiers serving in Vietnam, but American society here at home as well. "If we believe that we, as Americans, are bound together by a common concern for each other, then an urgent national priority is upon us. We must begin to end the disgrace of this other America. And this is one of the great tasks of leadership for us, as individuals and citizens this year".

As Kennedy sought to defeat the favored Vice President Hubert Humphrey in the state primaries, his campaign almost came to a halt on June 6th of last year. Kennedy narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian-American who felt betrayed by Kennedy's support for Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. A bullet grazed the right arm of the presidential hopeful, who otherwise remained unharmed.

During his inaugural speech, Kennedy vowed to seek a swift and responsible end to the Vietnam War, promising that American combat forces will leave Indochina within eighteen months of his taking office. He called the war "a disastrous failure, started with eyebrow-raising zeal and ill-conceived planning", and called it a crime that "so many of our young men were fed into the fire because of decisions based on questionable origins". Kennedy was referring to the disputed Gulf of Tonkin incident, which he promised to investigate. He also promised to return the military's focus on the Soviet threat in Europe, and accelerate desegregation and social justice "So that every man, woman and child in these beautiful United States may live the life that my dear brother John, my friend Martin Luther King Jr, and our Lord Jesus Christ all died to secure".

In 1801, on this day John Marshall of Germantown, Virginia John Marshall was appointed the Chief Justice of the United States.

Marshall Forced to Recuse Himself from Marbury v. MadisonTwo years later he was at the centre of a dramatic sequence of events which would have profound effects upon the future of the Republic. The law of the young United States was only a little more than a decade old since its formal establishment with the ratification of the Constitution.

Older law stretched back by precedent in the days of the Articles of Confederation and even colonial charters, creating the base of English common law that would judge how the basic affairs of personal matters could be handled. However, the highest echelons of the government were new and undecided. In a pivotal case for the Supreme Court, Congress won its position as highest power of the land, outranking even the Constitution itself, out of the character assassination of Chief Justice John Marshall.

The matter at hand was that of the "Midnight Judges" who had been appointed in the last hours of the Federalist Party controlling the government. Jeffersonian Republicans had won the elections in 1800 handily, meaning that the power of the Federalist Congress and President John Adams would simply disappear. In order to maintain what they felt as a sense of sanity for the young nation, John Adams used the newly passed Judiciary Act of 1801 to appoint Federalist-leaning men to some 58 positions as circuit judges and justices of the peace. After approval by the Senate, Secretary of State John Marshall (who had also been appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but stayed in his executive position at Adams' request) was able to deliver the majority of the appointments. A few would-be judges, however, were unable to be reached, and upon March 4, Jefferson was formally sworn in as president. Among his first actions to Levi Lincoln, Attorney General and acting Secretary of State, ordering him not to deliver the remaining appointments.

One of the ousted appointees was wealthy Marylander financier William Marbury, who demanded his position. He petitioned the Supreme Court, whose position was stalled as the new Democratic-Republican Congress limited the Court to one session the next February. As the court finally convened to hear the case, the questions at hand stretched further than whether they could order the Executive Branch to give Marbury his appointment. The legal issues seemed clear enough with Marbury to win, but lawyers opposing decided a radical strategy of removing the Federalist influence. They argued that Marshall could not sit as he was currently Secretary of State during the delivery and cited English Chief Justice Edward Coke's 1610 opinion that "no person should be a judge in his own case".

The legal standing of the citation was questionable, but public outcry driven by Jeffersonian newspapers gave the Federalist Party a blemish as ignoble tyrants holding any position they could grab. Due to the outpouring of disdain, Marshall sat aside.

Two weeks later, the split decision would be handed down as affirmative toward Marbury. However, Marshall's intended interpretation of judicial review for law fell short. Instead, legal precedence would build so that the Supreme Court's position would be to judge the Executive Branch and that Congress would sit atop a platform described by the Constitution. The so-called "Supremacy Clause" of the Constitution would be interpreted more to support the position of the federal government over those of states in the judicial system, a point that would be used to solve the Nullification Crisis in 1832 and deem secession only legal if approved by Congress. The federal government would be a "living government" rather than one restrained by an unchanging piece of paper.

Marshall, though upset, would continue as Chief Justice and do his best to support Federalist ideals. He challenged Jefferson in declaring Aaron Burr free from any overt act of treason in 1807. In 1810's Fletcher v. Peck, he judged that the Georgia government must support its dealings of its former legislature (unless authorized by the US Congress, now seen as equivalent to the Constitution). He also affirmed the position of the Executive Branch in international dealings, especially with those of the Native Americans.

Decades later, the matter of Congressional Supremacy would be key to the 1857 Dred Scott case proving that Congress had the right to prohibit slavery in US territories. With the substantial legal victory, the matter of slavery came to congressional attention, spurring the Emancipation Act of 1859 that prescribed the methods for a slave to free himself while paying his worth to his master, thus preventing any deprivation of property. The act is widely believed to have headed off a war as it was widely known Congress held the right to abolish slavery. Societies throughout the North (and South) collected money to be given to slaves, many of whom returned to work for former masters for wages.

Through the latter course of the nineteenth century, however, rampant corruption would bring about the Progressive Revolution led by, among others, General Theodore Roosevelt as renewed State Militias defending the Constitution, especially its Second Amendment, clashed with Federal troops.

In 1936, upon the death of George V his eldest son Edward ascended to the throne as Emperor of India and King of the United Kingdom and the British dominions.

Abdication Crisis avoidedEdward had held successively the titles of Prince Edward of York, Prince Edward of Cornwall and York, Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay, and Prince of Wales. As a young man, he served in World War I, undertook several foreign tours on behalf of his father, George V, and was associated with a succession of older, married women. The most recent example of the King's womanising was an affair with the American divorcée Wallis Simpson.

Members of the establishment and the royal house were horrified to discover that Edward was planning to break royal protocol by watching the proclamation of his own accession to the throne from a window in the company of the then still-married Mrs. Simpson. Fortunately for all concerned, he was disuaded from this course of action. Several months later the issue re-emerged when Edward declared that he intended to marry Wallis. However, due to her age it was improbable that such a union would bear children, and Edward was convinced to continue the relationship in semi-secrecy.

The significance of these events would only become apparent three years later. Because Edward VIII turned out to be just the right man for the hour, helping to lead the British people through the continental crisis with a calm fortitude that gained him their love and respect. Due in no small part to his excellent relationship with the German Government, the monarch had succeeded where elected politicians might fail, by ensuring that it would be "peace in our time".

In 1965, in his re-inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy places strong emphasis on foreign issues that influence the lives of everyday Americans and their responsibility to the world they inhabit:Watchmen on the World

"We in this country, in this generation, are--by destiny rather than choice--the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of 'peace on earth, good will toward men.' That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: 'except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.'"

Historian Robert Dallek notes in his biography, John F. Kennedy: A Life Well Lived, that the lines are in fact taken from a little-known speech that Kennedy did at the Dallas Trade Mart in late 1963. The speech was given during a re-election tour of the Southern states, which many say was pivotal to Kennedy winning a considerable margin of the popular vote. (A feat that had just barely escaped him in the 1960 election).

Indeed, many would later percieve Kennedy's speech as a sign of further emphasis on peace-making during his second term, as demonstrated by his later clashes with the Joint Chiefs of Staff over the gradual withdrawl of troops from Vietnam - and sending low level envoys to the Cuban government by mid-1966. Not to ignore his considerable domestic achievements, such as the passing of the 1966 Civil Rights Bill - and major economic incentives to combat poverty and unemployment).

However, all of these threatened to be overshadowed in the twilight of the Kennedy administration, when the President was struck gravely ill in June 1967 due to long-standing back troubles - forcing Lyndon Johnson to temporarily assume the presidency for over three weeks while Kennedy underwent emergency treatment and a quick recovery. So shocking was the revelation of Kennedy's major health issues and the numerous ailments to treat them (even long before his career in the House of Representatives), that the threat of impeachment loomed large at the outset of his presidency.

In 1989, former Massachusetts governor Michael S. Dukakis was sworn in as the 42nd President of the United States. Pledge of Allegiance
Dukakis, who had been trailing Republican nominee George Herbert Walker Bush for much of the 1988 general election campaign, experienced a dramatic turnaround in his political fortunes after he signed into law legislation that made it a requirement to say the Pledge of Allegiance each morning in Massachusetts classrooms; while this decision hurt his standing among liberal and moderate voters, it gained him a new wave of support among conservatives and enabled him to squeak out a narrow win over Bush in the November elections.

As inauguration guests listened to Tom Petty's rousing rendition of I Won't Back Down many might have been struck by how much the campaign had changed Al Gore for the better.

Gore squeaks homeAfter all he was appointed (rather than elected) to the Vice Presidency in 1992 not having campaigned at all indeed having been well beaten four years earlier despite being considered the "youngest serious Presidential candidate since John F. Kennedy". To be fair, Gore had put in a strong performance as VP, but in seeking to become "his own man" had run away from Presidential succes. This proven formula had of course allowed the equally unelectable George H.W. Bush to win a dozen years earlier.

Long before election day many Gore fans had tired of his spinelessness and untruthfulness. But then came the disputed election and the televised images of patriots burning the flag outside the Supreme Court. In that crucible he had matured as a national politician and the expectations for his Presidency had risen accordingly.

In 1814, on this day Northern Democrat Congressman David Wilmot was born in Bethany, Pennsylvania.

39th Parallel Part 1:
Wilmot Proviso leads to war
A leading Free Soiler, he was the architect of the Wilmot Proviso which opposed the extension of slavery into the occupied territories of Mexico. The legislation passes the House of Representatives, but was defeated in the Senate under the recently introduced two-thirds majority rule.

That rule had been demanded by Southern Senators as a precondition for admitting Baja California, Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuilia and Tamaulipas into the Union as new states. Otherwise Dixie politicians would have been outnumbered in the Upper House, and an insurmountable challenge to end the institution of slavery would soon arise.

In point of fact Wilmot was not an abolitionist, rather he had economic objections to Free Labor. But it made no difference, his Free Soil challenge was enough to put the newly enlarged Union on the road to Civil War. An installment from 39th Parallel thread.

In 1961, Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson (pictured) was inaugurated as the thirty-fifth president of the United States of America.

All the way with LBJ in '60 by Eric LippsJohnson had faced what had potentially been a strong challenge in the primaries from popular young Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

However, many people, including former President Harry S. Truman, were nervous about the possibility of a Roman Catholic becoming president. At one point, Truman had taken the extraordinary step of telling Kennedy point-blank that he should not run because of his religion. Kennedy also had begun to develop something of a reputation as a womanizer.

His campaign was done in at last, however, when revelations regarding his physical health, something the candidate had carefully obscured behind a facade of youthful vigor, surfaced in the media. Kennedy, it was revealed, was taking high doses of painkillers for an old back injury and in addition was receiving steroid treatments for Addison's disease, a liver disorder. Several physicians suggested that the medications the Senator was on might have effects on his judgment.

Kennedy's chances had faded after that, and at the Democratic convention, he had not even been considered for the vice-presidential slot, which he had been offered by Stevenson in '56. Instead, the VP nomination had gone to Minnesota Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey, who had also made a strong run in the primaries.
This article is part of the Cuban Crisis thread.

In 1977, James Earl Carter of Georgia is sworn in as the 39th president of the United States of America.

Among those watching the ceremony is the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The 48-year-old civil rights leader supported Carter in the 1976 election and hopes that in office he will prove more sympathetic to blacks and the poor than Presidents Nixon and Ford had been. Also in attendance is Juanita Abernathy, widow of Rev. Ralph Abernathy, who had been shot in Memphis, Tennessee, April 8, 1968, while leading a protest King had originally been scheduled to address.

US President
US President - Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter

King had been arrested and jailed on April 3, and on April 6, had been escorted under police guard to the Memphis airport and forced to board an outbound plane, with the warning that if he ever returned, "you ain't ever leaving"..

King has become one of the leading voices not only on civil rights but regarding opposition to continued U.S. occupation of Cuba and Vietnam, where seemingly interminable guerrilla conflicts continue despite the U.S. overthrow of Fidel Castro in 1961 and of the Communist regime in North Vietnam in 1971. American troops continue to be killed and injured in both Cuba and Vietnam, and have been fighting in Laos and Cambodia since 1972.

On this day in 1960, Sandy Koufax scored his 2000th NBA career point in a Celtics loss to the New York Knicks.

 - Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax

In 1961, on this day the New York City mayor John Lindsay and several of his aides attended President John F. Kennedy's inauguration at the personal invitation of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Republican Congressman
Republican Congressman - John Lindsay
John Lindsay
US President

On this day in 1945, Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in for his fourth and final term as president of the United States.

With the Third Reich now on the verge of final collapse, his main military priority for the early days of his fourth term would be to step up prosecution of the war with Japan.

US President - Franklin Roosevelt
Franklin Roosevelt

On this day in 2001, American political history was made as former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Colin Powell was sworn in as the 43rd president of the United States. In addition to being the first African-American president in US history, Powell was also the first chief executive since Millard Fillmore to run for the office on a platform other than those of the Democratic or Republican parties.

US President
US President - Colin Powell
Colin Powell
US President

In 2009, Barack Hussein Obama is sworn in as the first African-American president of the United States of America.

Present at the inauguration ceremony are the revered civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; his wife Coretta Scott King; and their son, Martin Luther King III. Dr. King, who celebrated his eightieth birthday five days earlier, has been confined to a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in 2006.

US President - Barack Obama
Barack Obama

King had narrowly escaped assassination in April 1968, when he was arrested by local authorities in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had been scheduled to appear at a rally, and forcibly ejected from the city. The Rev. Ralph Abernathy, who took Dr. King's place as featured speaker, was fatally shot by escaped convict James Earl Ray from a nearby rooftop.

On this day in 1969, Richard Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th President of the United States; in his inaugural address Nixon pledged to work for the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons from the world and to maintain cordial ties between the U.S. and Russia's Kosygin administration.

 - Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon

Although he wasn't able to completely eliminate the nuclear threat before he left office, Nixon did achieve a substantial reduction in the global nuclear stockpile-- by 1973 nearly two-thirds of the nuclear warheads which were in existences when Nixon was sworn into office had been dismantled.

Pres. Nominee

In 1993, Georgia senator Samuel Augustus Nunn is sworn in as the forty-second president of the United States of America.

In attendance at the ceremony are outgoing President Jack Kemp outgoing Vice-President Phil Gramm, and incoming Vice-President Bill Bradley. Also present, among the crowd of onlookers, are former Arkansas governor Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Pres. Nominee - Sam Nunn
Sam Nunn

Mr. Clinton had run for president himself in 1992, but had been defeated in the primaries amid revelations about extramarital affairs and reports of financial improprieties in connection with a real-estate venture, the Whitewater Development Corporation.

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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.