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

February 20

In 1547, on this day Edward VI of England was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey.

Coronation of Edward VIHowever he became deadly ill in January 1553 with a fever and cough that gradually worsened. Due to the premature demise of his uncle and half-brother, it was even feared that the Tudors might suffer from a genetic disorder.

The imperial ambassador, Scheyfve, reported that "he suffers a good deal when the fever is upon him, especially from a difficulty in drawing his breath, which is due to the compression of the organs on the right side .. I opine that this is a visitation and sign from God". But Edward felt well enough in early April to take the air in the park at Westminster and to move to Greenwich. Following his miraculous recovery, he set about choosing a suitable spouse from amongst the high dynastic houses of Europe, with preference for a Protestant German princess.

Of course this choice triggered the departure of his half-sister Mary Tudor who fled to Rome seeking recognition as the rightful Queen of England on the Continent. But it came to nought, and Edward launched a fifty year reign in which the nation would bask in the glorious Edwardian Era that would last until his death in 1598.

In 1862, on this day "Willie" Lincoln recovered from a life-threatening condition caused by the consumption of contaminated water drawn from the Potomac River, along which thousands of soldiers and horses were camped. His younger brother Tad who had been similarly afflicted also pulled through.

Notorious Hellions, allHe was named after Mary's brother-in-law Dr. William Wallace. He and his younger brother were considered "notorious hellions" during the period they lived in Springfield. They're recorded by Abraham's law partner William Herndon for turning their law office upside down; pulling the books off the shelves while their father appeared oblivious to their behaviour.

The third son of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln would eventually be voted President of the United States in 1904, on the forty-fourth anniversary of his father's election to the office for a single term. He struck up an unlikely relationship with Joseph Evan Davis, son of the ill-fated Confederate President. And it was Joe that had suggested Willie include in his inaugural address a personal note from his fathers diary, dated on his birthday 20th December 21, 1850 "Something had been missing from this harsh world, but finally, it was fulfilled" [1]. Because of the miraculous recovery his father had re-learnt an important lesson from his wayward sons, to knock on every door and tell the American people that love, love was the answer.

In 1893, on this day Confederate general P.G.T. Beauregard passed away in his sleep New Orleans, Louisiana. He was seventy-four years old.

Passing of General Beauregard, ill-fated commander of the Army of TennesseeTrained as a civil engineer at the United States Military Academy, Beauregard served with distinction as an engineer in the Mexican-American War. Following a brief appointment at West Point in 1861, after the South seceded, he resigned from the US Army and became the first Confederate brigadier general. He commanded the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina, at the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Three months later he won the First Battle of Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia.

Beauregard commanded armies in the Western Theater, including at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, and the Siege of Corinth in northern Mississippi. He returned to Charleston and defended it in 1863 from repeated naval and land attacks by Union forces.

One year later, Braxton Bragg requested that he be relieved of his command. The Confederate leadership agreed to this and temporarily handed command of the Army of Tennessee to William J Hardee who in turn refused to accept the command permanently. The two candidates under serious consideration were Joseph E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard. Although Jefferson Davis despised both men, he held greater contempt for Beauregard. However the deciding factor was Beauregard's pre-agreement to the offensive proposed by Davis and rejected by Johnston - a bold attack on Nashville via Knoxville linking up with Longstreet along the way. But unfortunately, Beauregard was not the organizer or administrater that Joe Johnston was and therefore ill-equipped to heal the damage Bragg did to that Army in his final months in charge.

In 1901, on this day General Muhammad Naguib was born in Khartoum, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.

Birth of Gen. Muhammad Naguib, architect of Divided EgyptHe lead the Free Officers Movement (formed by Gamal Abdel Nasser, the real power behind the coup) in overthrowing King Farouk of Egypt during 1952. As a result, four years later, the country was divided into two nations, the Egyptian Republic and the Sudan and the UN-takeover of the canal as international territory. While ruling its own ancient empires for millennia, Egypt became a prize in modern times that rarely had its own independence. Centuries of rule by the Ottomans ended with occupation by the French under Napoleon in 1798. Muhammad Ali seized power upon the departure of the French, creating a sultanate with British backing still nominally under the banner of the Ottomans. European influence continued and increased as the French-constructed Suez Canal was completed in 1869, making Egypt a nexus of world commerce. Britain began a new occupation of Egypt in 1882, though growing opposition from the populace caused them to establish a sultanate under Hussein Kamel in 1914. In 1922, the British ended Egypt's protectorate status, though British troops remained, and Fuad I declared himself king.

After the Second World War, the empires of Europe were exhausted, and a new era of Post-Colonialism came upon regions of the world that had been ruled for years by faraway governments. Egypt was particularly eager to rid itself of British involvement and a royal family whose government was considered impossibly corrupt. Soviet and American propaganda contributed to the feelings of the Egyptians, who had already begun to form a society known as the Free Officers aimed at ending dominance by elites and establishing democracy. They came under command of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who coordinated and recruited key men within the military and bureaucracy. Defeat in the 1948 war with Israel firmly set the nation against the British-friendly royals, and action began to overthrow King Farouk I.

In 1952, resistance fighters known as the fedayeen attacked British points of strength, particularly at the Suez Canal, where violent measures and strikes had been carried out for years. The British pursued a group of fedayeen to a police station in Ismailia, where the police refused to cooperate with British demanding the attackers be turned over. A firefight ensued, and fifty Egyptian police were killed along with a hundred wounded. Free Officers instigated riots that became the internationally notorious Cairo Fires. King Farouk ended the government and attempted to install a series of prime ministers who could alleviate the turmoil, but the end had come. General Muhammad Naguib, the face of the Free Officers Movement, announced a coup as Nasser's allies took control of communication and transport hubs. The king fled to Italy, and the government was placed in the hands of the Revolutionary Command Council with Naguib as chairman and Nasser as vice-chairman.

The RCC quickly began reforms on land ownership, ending the power of former royals. Land reform seized property from anyone white as well as anyone Jewish, Greek, or Coptic. Naguib envisioned a fast transition to civilian government, but other RCC members such as Nasser were more comfortable with military rule during the turbulent times as political parties (which became banned) could challenge their control. Nasser began to chafe under Naguib's conservatism and expanded his own powers. Naguib gradually became a puppet holding executive offices and was forced to carry out RCC mandates despite his own voice being ignored. Finally Naguib began to call for support from the banned political parties, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wafd, who had served as a liberalizing faction in the past decades.

Nasser responded by having his allies in the military arrest Naguib in February of 1954. Following the announcement, however, protests rose up from the people so much that Naguib was released and reinstated. Even as Naguib came back into his position, Nasser moved to make himself prime minister and strip the office of commander of the army from Naguib, whom Nasser accused of aspiring to become dictator. Defying the majority of RCC opinion, Naguib determined to denounce Nasser publically and called for immediate elections to a constitutional convention, riding the wave of anti-Nasser sentiment from his unlawful arrest.

Much of the army was still loyal to Nasser, but Naguib had been an influential commander and, using what was left of his command, relieved many of Nasser's allies. The populace reaffirmed his demand for elections with demonstrations, and Nasser could not muster enough support to stop the movement. Having cut out much of Nasser's support, Naguib reappointed Nasser as a representative to Europe to push for British withdrawal from the Suez Canal. Nasser refused to leave Egypt and determined to continue RCC government while Naguib pressed for elections with his own staff. Fighting ensued and spread to become the Egyptian Civil War. Nasser's forces held the north while Naguib, half-Sudanese himself, controlled the south. Britain and France eagerly moved to aid Naguib, while Nasser, who eventually sought to nationalize the Suez Canal, gained aid from the Soviet bloc. The war dragged on to a standstill, much as had been seen in Korea between the American-aided south and Chinese-aided north. Sinai and the Suez Canal were occupied by Israel, whose armies devastated any forces sent by Nasser to retake it.

In 1956, UN resolutions affirmed the separation of Egypt into the Egyptian Republic and the Sudan and the UN-takeover of the canal as international territory, which was demanded by US President Eisenhower. Ideas of pan-Arabism had been shattered along with the Arab League, and instead the Cold War carved up the region into clear Soviet-leaning and West-leaning nations. Revolutions were suppressed by dominant parties while funding from economic patron countries allowed for development within the nations and pacification of despondent peoples. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, much of the foreign political influence diminished while the price of oil remained low through the 1990s and early 2000s. Global development increased demand for oil, creating a new era of wealth for the region.

In 1959, on this day the Canadian Government terminated the CF-105 Arrow Interceptor Fighter Plane project.

Mothballing of Avro Arrow ProjectThe Sputnik launch had forced an immediate re-evaluation of Nuclear Defense Policy. Intercontinental ballistic missiles were upgraded to a greater future threat than bombers and therefore funds were redirected to buy Boeing's Bomarc Missiles.

In Malton, Ontario the fourteen thousand employees of Avro were informed via the company's public address system that they had all lost their jobs with immediate effect. One of Canada's most promising industries had been shut down, and many skilled engineers went south to seek employment with American Aerospace Companies.

The head of the company Fred Smye was locked in an even bigger dispute with the Diefenbaker Government who had ordered him to not only halt testing of the plane, but to also destroy all prototypes, engines and drawings, technical designs data and drawings. When he refused, they reminded him it was government property, and threatened to send in the Army to carry out the order. But Test Pilot Spud Potocki made a public stand, and Diefenbaker was forced to back down.

As events transpired, it was fortunate that the project had been mothballed rather than utterly destroyed. Because three years later the Cuban Missiles Crisis escalated into nuclear war. Canada then set upon implementing the The Dieffenbaker Plan to claim the territory possessed by the United States to rehabilitate that land "back to a standard of civilization".
This post is a prequel to Raymond Speer's Dieffenbaker Plan thread.

By 1798, the Catholic Church in France had become one of the casualties of the French Revolution as Hébert and his followers sought to replace it with the Cult of Reason.

Pius VI Escapes the FrenchIn 1789, the Church lost its political power to tax and then all property, which was auctioned to the public. The next year, a constitution was written for the French clergy, and Pope Pius VI spent eight months pondering it before ultimately denouncing it. French priests became split, those signing it being dubbed "jurors" while "non-juring" priests refused. Non-juring priests and those who protected them were susceptible to forced emigration to French Guiana, fines, imprisonment, conscription, and execution. The power of the Church quickly decreased as symbols and public worship were outlawed, even to the point of replacing the calendar of saints' days with the new Republican one. While most of the oppression ended with Robespierre's execution, only a limited return of the Church came after the legalization of worship in 1795.

Meanwhile, the center of the Church became threatened as French troops stormed Italy under the young and ambitious Napoleon Bonaparte, creating republics in his wake. Papal forces were defeated, and Pius VI agreed to a peace that would last only a few months before riots that killed a member of the French embassy led General Louis-Alexandre Berthier to march on Rome itself. On February 10, 1798, the French demanded an end to the Papal States and the Pope's political power, and Pius VI refused. As they made to move Pius VI to Siena under guard, the Pope managed to escape through the use of double agents. He fled to southern Italy where King Ferdinand IV still held the Kingdom of Naples. There, Pius published his papal bull denouncing French military actions and calling all Catholics to rise against France to find justice for a decade of murders of priests and nuns, along with some 30,000 priests forcibly deported. The French pursued him and conquered Naples, though they were overthrown by a peasant rebellion. Ferdinand IV returned to the throne, but Pius had escaped to Vienna, and the political damage against France was done.

The bull caused an uproar in Spain, which was currently a French ally under treaties negotiated by then-Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy. He had fallen out of favor in 1797 with the queen and much of the country and was shifted to the military as Captain-General. When the bull was announced, Godoy's notions of war with Britain came to an end, and Spain canceled its treaties with France. Instead, they began funding popular uprisings in south central and western France, where the Church was still fairly popular. The Directory in Paris hurried to put down the protests, using French soldiers against citizens, which only spread unrest as many feared a return to the Terror.

The country became a vacuum ready for change. The Directory was unpopular, and the greatest hero of the war, Napoleon, was in Egypt, bottled up by the British Royal Navy. Upon the return of former clergyman Emmanual Joseph Sieyés from an unsuccessful bid at pulling Prussia into the war on France's side, he was made Director in May of 1799. He called up popular general Barth?lemy Catherine Joubert, who had been managing Italy as commander-in-chief before resigning in January due disputes with local civic leaders. The two led a coup d'?tat that overthrew the Directory and prompted a new triumvirate headed by Sieyés. Napoleon arrived unannounced from Egypt in October, months too late to participate in the new government, and was dispatched back to the Middle East, where he would be captured and humiliatingly repatriated to France aboard English ships. Gradually, war began to slow, and peace was signed in 1802 with the Treaty of Amiens. The political sweeps Sieyés performed satisfied the Church, and France welcomed the new Pope Pius VII on a tour.

Although diplomacy in Europe remained tense, particularly with English suspicion of France after their expedition to Haiti returned it as a colony (but held onto Enlightenment ideals refusing a return to slavery), no one seemed willing to start another war in Europe. France and Britain soon had another colonial war over Malta, resulting in a wider war that involved the United States of America as both France and the Americans tried to expand their colonial holdings while the British continued to occupy forts outside of treaties. Ultimately the war would affirm British naval superiority, but it would not be enough to create William Pitt's dream of a Europe diplomatically led by Britain.

After a generation, the French Republic was considered firmly instituted in Europe and fueled the ideals of republicanism and, as the nineteenth century continued, nationalism. Under internal pressure, the Holy Roman Empire collapsed, fracturing into nation-states while old kingdoms such as Italy became unified. Spain managed to hold onto its overseas empire for decades until the Third Spanish-American War (the first two losing Florida and then Tejas) culminated with the recognition of a number of republics that had struggled to confirm independence. France, meanwhile, led its own confederation of republican colonies in Africa and around the world.

In 1200 B.C., on this day the Minoan invasion of the Peloponnese gained unstoppable momentum with the fall of the Mycenaean port city of Lefkandi.

Fall of LefkandiDuring the eight centuries since their migration from the Balkans, the insular Mycenaean civilization had grown up from a series of hillside villages to fortified city-states.

Meanwhile, the Minoans had nurtured a more expansive, outward-looking model. Small states had grown rich as a result of trading and their development was driven by superb craftsmen and sailors.

The future was theirs, and the great civilization that emerged face Eastwards, placing the Peloponnese at the epicentre of Middle World.

In 2008, the final resting place of three German U-boats, nicknamed Hitler's lost fleet were found at the bottom of the South Atlantic.

Hitler's Lost Fleet by Jasper Copping, Stephen Wagner et al.The submarines had travelled 8,000 miles from Germany at the climax of the Second World War, but were mysteriously sunk as the war neared its end. Now, more than 60 years later, explorers located the flotilla of three submarines off the coast of South Georgia. The vessels, including one once commanded by Germany's most successful U-boat ace, formed part of the 30th Flotilla of six submarines.

All three U-boats had been operating against British shipping in the North Sea. U-23 gained notoriety for scoring one of Germany's earliest successes, sinking a British ship off the Shetland Islands days after war began. It was later commanded by Otto Kretschmer, known as Silent Otto, the most successful U-boat ace.

Fantastic stories circulated that Adolf Hitler and some of his followers had commandeered the vessels in April 1945 and endeavoured to escape to the hollow lands within the Earth after World War II via an entrance in Antarctica.

Now the submarines' hulls have been discovered by a team led by Selcuk Kolay, a Turkish marine engineer, who presented his findings to a shipwreck conference in Plymouth. He thought he was also close to pinpointing the third boat, U-19, thought to lie more than 1,000ft down, three miles from the coast of South Georgia.

"It's one of the least well known stories of the war but one of the most interesting," said Mr Kolay. "It is a quite incredible story. To get to the South Atlantic these boats had to avoid Allied shipping in the Atlantic, and once they got there head for the southern polar opening to meet their Agarthan allies".

Until the discovery, the Hollow Earth Research Society in Ontario, Canada asserted that Hitler and his Nazi followers were still there. After the war, the organization claimed, the Allies discovered that more than 2,000 scientists from Germany and Italy had vanished, along with almost a million people, to the land beyond the South Pole.

On this day in 1958, Sandy Koufax earned his third NBA career triple-double in a 96-95 Celtics win over the Cincinnati Royals at Boston Garden.

 - Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax

On this day in 1963, NFL quarterback Charles Barkley was born in Leeds, Alabama. Barkley, known by his fans as 'the Round Mound of Touchdowns', led Auburn University to an NCAA national championship during his junior year there and later played a major role in helping the New York Giants earn their second Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

 - Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley
In 1985, President Ralph Shephard surveys the damage to the Capitol Building. To the reporters, congressman and ordinary citizens who have gathered at the bomb site, he says, 'You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in American history. This explosion is the beginning.' The hope of retribution promised by that statement lifts the president's supporter's spirits.
In 1974, Reg Murphy, the seditionist editor of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper, disappears. Comrade Murphy had written several articles criticizing the war in South Chile, and suggesting that the Soviet States of America had lost its way. Although some thought that the government might have been responsible, a disturbed young man named William Williams was found to have murdered the editor.
In 1968, country singer Cheryl Ann Vernon is born in Texas. Discovered in her twenties by Bobby Earl Smith, she spent several years touring with him in small venues around the Lone Star State until her cover of These Boots Were Made For Walking hit the top of the country charts. From there, she rode the progressive country wave of the 90's to her current stardom.
In 1299, Riza Khan Pahlavi seizes control of Persia from the Sultan Khazal and crowns himself Shah according to the old customs. Shah Riza abandons the use of Sharia law and secularizes the nation, much to the outrage of the faithful within and without Persia's borders.
In 12-10-19-10-7, Inca is hit by a huge earthquake, destroying the city of Talcahuano. Oueztecan Emperor Kanticli declares the great loss of life, numbering in the thousands, to be an imperial emergency, and aid from across the two continents of the empire pours in to help the citizens of Talcahuano.
In 2004, fans of the film series The Lord of the Rings riot in Los Angeles after the film is snubbed by the Oscars, garnering only one nomination for a technical award. Control is restored in the city after the Motion Picture Academy takes the unprecedented step of declaring that The Lord of the Rings will be awarded a special Oscar for 'Artistic Merit'.
In 1962, Marine Lieutenant John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth died after his spacecraft, Friendship Seven burnt up on entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Glenn, 40 had travelled about 81,000 miles (more than 130,000km) as he circled the globe three times at more than 17,000 mph (27,000kph). Lieutenant Glenn controlled nearly two of the orbits himself after reporting 'minor difficulties' with the automatic altitude control system as he completed the third circuit - the maximum anticipated. Messages from the astronaut were transmitted by radio stations across the United States and United Kingdom and his progress was monitored by 18 ground stations around the world. As he re-entered the atmosphere after his four-hour and 56-minute journey Lieutenant Glenn made his last transmission saying: 'Boy, that was a real fireball.'
In 2004, fans of the film series The Lord of the Rings riot in Los Angeles after the film is snubbed by the Oscars, garnering only one nomination for a technical award. Control is restored in the city after the Motion Picture Academy takes the unprecedented step of declaring that The Lord of the Rings will be awarded a special Oscar for 'Artistic Merit'.
In 12-10-19-10-7, Inca is hit by a huge earthquake, destroying the city of Talcahuano. Oueztecan Emperor Kanticli declares the great loss of life, numbering in the thousands, to be an imperial emergency, and aid from across the two continents of the empire pours in to help the citizens of Talcahuano.
In 1494, heretical bishop Johan Friis was born in Denmark. Bishop Friis converted to the Lutheran Church after Pope Henry VIII had Martin Luther executed. Friis was instrumental in spreading the outlawed faith across Denmark, against the laws of the Holy British Empire, and earned Pope Henry's wrath for himself. He was executed for heresy in 1542.
In 1985, the Republic of Ireland knuckles under to pressure from the Catholic Church and kills a measure in Parliament that would have allowed the sale of contraceptives, in spite of a Supreme Court ruling in 1973 that the Irish constitution provided a right to privacy that allowed such sales. Several pharmacies worked outside of the law to provide contraception to at least married couples, and were covertly aided by the government until a conservative backlash placed staunch Catholics in charge in 1990. A very repressive law against any form of birth control passed the Parliament, and provided an impetus for feminists in Ireland to organize and campaign. They were so successful, and tapped such a huge groundswell of support, that they managed to cast out the conservative government in 1992 and finally implement the 20-year old Supreme Court decision.
In 1607, the Secret War begins between the two major factions of the Speaker's Line; those who wish to take control of the world's governments in order to fulfill the Speaker's Dream, and those who wish to continue their work without letting those outside the Speaker's Family know of their purpose.


February 19

In 1674, on this day England and the Netherlands signed the Treaty of Westminster. An article from the American Mini States thread.

Treaty of Westminster ends the Third Anglo-Dutch WarThe treaty provisions included a one hundred forty-nine year security guarantee for the Dutch Holdings on the American East Coast. These territories had been vulnerable during the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars; only a freak storm and then the courage of Director-General Peter Stuyvesant had prevented British occupation. And events would overtake both nations long before the treaty expired.

New Amsterdam quickly expanded during the passage of years. Jews ousted from Brazil as Portugal retook Dutch conquests flooded into the city, and immigrants from all over the world were accepted. The economy flourished as pelts were harvested from the upper Hudson and established shipping. When the twin states of New England and Great Virginia declared independence from Britain, the Dutch granted support first financially and then through its impressive navy. When Napoleon conquered the Netherlands in Europe, Neiu Nederlands announced its own independence.

Relations between Neiu Nederlanders and Americans were amicable. They were particularly close with New England due to ties in shipping and manufacturing, although relations were at times strained while the United States to the south determining water rights of Lake Erie. When New England broke off trade with the US over slavery, the Nederlanders maintained a lucrative neutrality. The sudden surge of trade brought about a new golden age, which led to a great deal of corruption that responded in a powerful Progressive Movement, headed by the young Theodoor van Rosevelt...

In 1807, former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr is arrested for treason in Wakefield, Alabama and confined to Fort Stoddert.

Destined to RuleDestined to rule, he founds the breakaway Republic of Gloriana after intrigue prevented him from governing in the United States. Because in September, he flees the young country he helped to found in order to escape conviction on charges of treason. Burr, along with a few hundred followers, establishes his own republic in the former French protectorate of Louisiana. He names himself president, but acts much more like a king. Many Americans who had been on the Tory side of the revolution, on hearing of Burr's new Gloriana, immigrated.

Although never large, Gloriana proved to be a thorn in the underside of the American nation as it tried to spread west, constantly harassing the Americans who attempted to settle in the Louisiana Purchase or move through it to Mexico and parts west. In 1823, President James Monroe decided that he could not leave office without handling "this minuscule king, this traitor, Aaron Burr", and asked for a declaration of war against Gloriana from Congress. The declaration passed swiftly, and Americans across the east coast signed up for the attack on Gloriana. Burr, seeing what was coming, tried to ask Mexico and the native nations around him for aid, but they all refused. The summer of 1823 saw the first border clash between Glorianans and Americans, and the Americans won handily. They pushed on swiftly, and the warm weather of south Louisiana allowed them to keep moving through winter and seize Burr's capitol of New Orleans. Burr himself fled and tried to rally what few Glorianans remained loyal to him at Natchitoches, but a disaffected Glorianan shot him on the way, putting an end to the small nation forever. By the time spring arrived in Louisiana, all the Glorianans had been repatriated into the US, and Burr's legacy was utterly destroyed.

In 1594, on this day Henry IXth, King of England was born Henry Frederick Stuart (eldest son of James I & VI) in Stirling Castle, Scotland.

Birth of Henry IX (The Great)Widely seen as a bright and promising heir to his father's thrones (the central event in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was based on his royal baptismal party) he very nearly succumbed to typhoid fever at the age of eighteen. But he survived, and as Henry IX (The Great) ascended to the throne thirteen years later, at the age of thirty-one.

An obdurate Protestant with strong Calvinist leanings (when his father suggested a French marriage, he answered that he was "resolved that two religions should not lie in his bed"), he was the architect of an Anglican Ireland during his glorious thirty-five year reign. In contrast to the other English Kings who saw Ireland as a drain on resources (tending to withdraw soon after rebellions were mercilessly crushed), he devoted considerable effort to suppressing Catholicism in Ireland. However an unintended outcome of this conversion was that the Baptist and Presbyterian denominations became seen as the "anti-English" religion, the full consequences of which would only be exposed much later with the emergence of Irish nationalism.

In 1942, on this day MacArthur Declares Himself Filipino Dictator. When the Commonwealth of the Philippines achieved semi-independent status in 1935, President of the Philippines Manuel Quezon asked then US Chief of Staff MacArthur to supervise the creation of a Philippine Army. Quezon and MacArthur had been personal friends since the latter's father had been Governor-General of the Philippines, 35 years earlier. With President Roosevelt's approval, MacArthur accepted the assignment. It was agreed that MacArthur would receive the rank of field marshal, with its salary and allowances, in addition to his major general's salary as Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines.

MacArthur Declares Himself Filipino DictatorOn 26 July 1941, Roosevelt federalized the Philippine Army, recalled MacArthur to active duty in the U.S. Army as a major general, and named him commander of U.S. Army Forces in the Far East. He was promoted to lieutenant general the following day, and then to general on 20 December. However on 1 January 1942, MacArthur accepted $500,000 from President Quezon of the Philippines as payment for his pre-war service. MacArthur's staff members also received payments: $75,000 for Sutherland, $45,000 for Richard Marshall, and $20,000 for Huff.

When Quezon decided to flee from the invading Japanese, MacArthur was ordered by Roosevelt to accompany him. Because Quezon was desperately sick, MacArthur had no issue with the flight, but steadfastly refused to accept the dishonour himself. Rather than declare Manila an open city and fight on as a private, he decided to appoint himself emergency head of state.
This blog is a reversal of Jeff Provine's article Aug 3, 1949 - MacArthur Declares Himself Japanese Dictator

In 1777, after much political infighting and discussion, the Continental Congress announced promoting five men to the rank of major general.

Benedict Arnold PromotedThe move was largely bureaucratic, but attempts influence came from every direction with much of the decision being a balance of generals from the various states of the new republic. Thirty-six-year-old Benedict Arnold was nearly passed over for the promotion largely due to his poor relations with other officers, but a final decision to promote him over Scotsman Arthur St. Clair came as both he and Thomas Mifflin were of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Mifflin was necessary as the Quartermaster General. Arnold was not popular, but his connections with Washington gave him some credence, and St. Clair proved more useful as a commander beside Washington.

Arnold's record would prove impressive. Orphaned by the age of twenty but highly successful in business, Arnold quickly joined the Sons of Liberty in resistance against the Sugar and Stamp Acts. He was away on business in the West Indies at the time of the Boston Massacre, of which he wrote, "good God, are the Americans all asleep and tamely giving up their liberties?" When the Revolutionary War began, Arnold became a member of the Connecticut militia and suggested the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in New York, which was so strategically significant it was known as the "Gibraltar of the North" but had an insufficient British garrison. Gaining the rank of colonel, he joined with Ethan Allen in the successful capture of Ticonderoga. During the failed invasion of Quebec (also believed to have been Arnold's suggestion), Arnold's wilderness route gave extra support and earned him the rank of brigadier general at the cost of wounds. He commanded Montreal until forced to retreat by British advancing forces, but ordered the construction of the defensive fleet for Lake Champlain that slowed the British advance to Ticonderoga by months and was noted by James Wilkinson to be the last to leave.

While supervising the defense of Rhode Island and remarrying (his first wife had died while he was conquering Ticonderoga), Arnold received his promotion and was dispatched to command the defense of Ticonderoga while St. Clair was kept at Washington's side with great praise for his strategy at Princeton. General Phillip Schuyler, then in command of the North, requested 10,000 men for the defense of Ticonderoga, but Washington expected British advance to come from the south following the Fall of New York. Arnold was to command only 2,000 men against the approaching forces of General John Burgoyne. Realizing that he had far too few troops to defend the large fort, Arnold ordered an immediate reconstruction of the fort, breaking up much of it and moving it to the higher, more defensible Sugar Loaf height (later known as Mount Defiance). John Trumball had shown the year before it was too high to be shot by cannon from the fort, and Arnold countered opinions that it was impossible for cannon to be set there as he himself had climbed it while injured.

The new works were established shortly before Burgoyne's 7,800 troops arrived on June 30, 1777. Many of Arnold's advisers suggested a withdrawal and regrouping with American troops to the south, but Arnold determined to stand firm and call for reinforcements. Burgoyne took the small fort at Crown Point and the remains of Ticonderoga with ease, but then found himself under fire from the American forces atop Mount Defiance. Burgoyne laid siege and was unable to move south, giving General Gates the time needed to collect thousands of local militia and march northward to raise the siege. Burgoyne counterattacked despite recommendations to retreat, and the resulting victory for Americans would be the turning point of the war. While Gates received much of the credit, Arnold won great new political connections through the commander and went with him to the southern theater following the loss of Charleston, where Arnold would manage the retreat at the Battle of Camden in 1780 to keep it from becoming a disastrous rout. Under Nathanael Greene, Arnold would be instrumental in the victories of the South, where his Tory leanings were appreciated.

When the war came to conclusion in 1783, Arnold continued in politics. He joined with the Federalists and determined to keep Georgia and the Carolinas, where he was very popular, from falling under the sway of Jeffersonian Virginia. Campaigning extensively over the value of unity, he took the place of John Adams as the Federalists' bid for president, giving Adams his desired position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in return. Arnold's presidential term would be a disaster as he used his position of Commander-in-Chief to extremes during the military build-up in the Quasi-War with France while many hoped for a recall of Washington to arms.

Arnold was soon seen as a potential dictator, and he was expunged from office in 1800, dying of dropsy after complications from gout the next year. Federalism came under great suspicion despite Alexander Hamilton's attempts to distance his party from Arnold. Under Jefferson, the Twelfth Amendment would see a great restriction of executive power, clarifying many rights to the states.

In 1777, the Continental Congress, the organization of rebel leaders for the American revolution, promotes several rebel officers to the rank of Major General. New York's General Benedict Arnold is not among those elevated, and is quite bitter about that.

Arnold Passed Over He is close to resignation from the rebel cause when the Commander-in-Chief of the revolutionary forces, George Washington, intervenes personally and convinces the Congress to promote him. Arnold, grateful to Washington for this personal favor, does not let his commander down.

He leads rebel forces in victory after victory, and is the battlefield commander when the British finally surrender at Yorktown; he accepted Lord Cornwallis' sword himself, a souvenir he kept above his mantel the rest of his life.

A story by Robbie TaylorWhen the young republic called on General Washington to lead it as its first president, Washington called on the man who had been his right arm to stand by his side. Washington and Arnold, as President and Vice-President, set the definitive example of the American executive. Although many New Yorkers would have liked to see him elevated again, Vice-President Arnold felt that his health was too poor to continue serving his country. He retired to his home state and died shortly after leaving office, in 1799.

In 1985, rumors that ex-President Edward M. Kennedy and his wife are divorcing are confirmed by Joan Kennedy during an interview for CBS News.

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The former First Lady declines to go into details, saying only that their separation will be an "amicable" one. Speculations abound as to the underlying reasons for the breakup; among the favorites is infidelity on the President's part. It is also suggested that the break has been coming for a long time, but was postponed for political reasons until after the Kennedys left the White House.

In 2003, the Soviet States of America declares victory over the People's Republic of America, and the 2nd Civil War is over. Comrade President Cobb, in his statement to the nation, says, 'Let each of us look to the former members of the People's Republic as our comrades, returned back to the struggle after going astray.'
In 4693, former Emperor Deng Ziopeng dies at his home in Beijing. He extended China's possessions outside our own solar system for the first time, establishing the fateful Yang Gao colony in the Tchou star system.
In 1985, an explosion rocks the Capitol Building, leveling most of the congressional offices. Fortunately, it happens late at night and no one is hurt. President Ralph Shephard and the Constitutionalist Party seize on the event to push their radical agenda to the forefront; in short order, President Shephard has most of the constitutional changes he had requested.
In 1985, the Coca-Cola Corporation discontinues the Cherry Coke brand, a favorite flavor of the carbonated beverage in the 1950's. Sales of the drink had been declining for decades, so Coca-Cola finally made the decision to pull the plug on the flavor.
In 1952, Velma Porter and Mikhail von Heflin board a ship in Houston, Texas, bound for Europe. The Baron is escorting Porter back to his ancestral homeland; since it is now controlled by a Communist government, they have a difficult road ahead of them.
In 11-17-7-12-1, Micantlutli of Teotihuacan devises the written language used by the Oueztecan Empire today. A more graceful and economical language than the Nahuatl script used for centuries, the Micantlutlian script, commonplace today, was considered a radical development in his time and was resisted by the priesthood for several decades as blasphemous.
In 1473, Mikolaj Kopernik, Polish mathematician, is born in Torun, Poland. Always obedient to the truth as he saw it, Kopernik published a treatise in 1530 detailing his argument that the sun, rather than the earth, was at the center of the universe. His own uncle, Bishop Lucas Watzenrode, denounced him for heresy and imprisoned him for the rest of his life.
In 1981, although he had come into office expecting to reinstate the backing of the United States government for several anti-communist regimes that the Carter administration had dropped support for, President Ronald Reagan changes his mind after viewing the reports of the violence of the military government in El Salvador. 'We can't put the prestige of America behind that,' he says of the Salvadoran military. Without US aid, El Salvador's revolutionaries win the struggle 4 years later, and President Reagan extends the hand of the United States in friendship. It is gratefully accepted, and this action is often credited as keeping El Salvador out of the communist bloc.
In 1847, the Donner and Reed families, settlers from Illinois heading west to California, take up their journey again after wintering at the Sierra Nevadas. They had reached the mountains in October, but decided against trying to cross them because of the possibility of being trapped there over winter. Although it was an unpopular decision, the settler's leader, George Donner, had felt intimidated by the mountains and was not ready to challenge them until spring was at least close at hand.
In 1109 AUC, Emperor Constantius II shuts down the temples belonging to the cult of Christos, a messianic figure from the province of Judea. The cult's members had been attempting to destroy other religions within the empire, and Constantius felt that they would become a danger if allowed to grow unchecked.


February 18

In 1920, on this day, Edward Donald Slovik was born to a Polish-American family in Detroit, Michigan. During the liberation of France, he held the rank of Private in Company G of the 109th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 28th Infantry Division.

Unfit for DutyConvicted of a series of minor offences, his criminal record made him classified as unfit for duty in the U.S. military (4-F). But shortly after his first wedding anniversary, he was reclassified as fit for duty (1-A) and subsequently drafted by the Army. While en route to his assigned unit, Slovik and a friend he met during basic training at Camp Wolters in Texas, Private John Tankey, took cover during an artillery attack and became separated from their replacement detachment. This was the point at which Slovik later stated he found he "wasn't cut out for combat".

The 28th Division was scheduled to begin an attack in the Hurtgen Forest. The coming attack was common knowledge in the unit, and casualty rates were expected to be very high, as the prolonged combat in the area had been unusually grueling. The Germans were determined to hold, and terrain and weather reduced the usual American advantages in armor and air support to almost nothing. A small minority of soldiers (less than 0.5%) indicated they preferred to be imprisoned rather than remain in combat, and the rates of desertion and other crimes had begun to rise. Slovik was charged with desertion to avoid hazardous duty and tried by court martial on 11 November 1944.

Found guilty and sentence to death, he was the first US soldier since the Civil War to face execution for desertion. Supreme Allied commander General Eisenhower confirmed the execution order on 23 December, noting that it was necessary to discourage further desertions. But the reaction from the ranks was overwhelmingly negative, and in the interests of morale he was forced to commute the sentence to re-assignment to a non-combat division. After the war, he was encouraged by his wife Antoinette to correspond with a number of former servicemen, including Kurt Vonnegut and of course his former colleague John Tankey. And ultimately it was their political activities during the latter phase of the Korean war that ultimately derailed Eisenhower's "I Like Ike" Presidential Campaign in 1952 under dishonourable circumstances [1]. And so it goes [2].

In 1861, in Montgomery, Alabama, Alexander Stephens was inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.

Inauguration of POTCS Alexander H. StephensIt was a surprising turn for the long-time Congressional Representative who was chosen as President for the provisional government of the Confederate States of America to hold office until formal elections could be held. The constitutional convention meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, had been expected to choose Jefferson Davis, who had twice served as senator from Mississippi as well as being the Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce. However, it became clear that Davis would rather serve his country as a general, and so Stephens was chosen, as he was also a moderate, instead of fiery secessionists Howell Cobb and Robert Toombs. While Toombs had called for war almost immediately (his farewell speech to the US Senate had included, "as one man would meet you upon the border with the sword in one hand and the torch in the other"), Stephens was slow to raise arms. Earlier in the convention that elected him, he campaigned against secession and detailed the American political system with the Republicans holding a minority in Congress and, even if any laws were to be passed around them, the Supreme Court would continue the status quo, as it had in its 7-2 decision in the Dred Scott case four years before.

Georgia native Stephens had always seemed to best understand the mechanics behind the obvious. Despite growing up poor, benefactors had paid for his education, and he passed the Georgia bar at age 24 after graduating at the top of his class. He was routinely ill, even from childhood, but he was a masterful lawyer who, in his 34 years of practice, never had a client charged with a capital crime meet the death penalty. As he became wealthy and established himself with land and slaves, he returned the generosity he had been given by opening his own home to the homeless and paying for more than one hundred students' educations. Even though he was constantly thin from illness, he earned the nickname "The Strongest Man in the South" from his intelligence and craftiness. Stephens went on to Washington as a Representative as a Whig, Unionist, and finally Democrat. His self-described "greatest glory of my life" would be the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in the House by use of rare point of order, thus bringing popular sovereignty to the territory despite the Missouri Compromise limiting slavery to the South.

After the election of 1860 gave Lincoln the White House, Stephens was sent as a delegate to the convention judging the question of secession. Stephens opposed it, arguing that the South bide its time, but was eventually convinced on the grounds of the North not abiding by the Fugitive Slave Law. As one of his first acts in the presidency, Stephens gave his impromptu "Cornerstone Speech" in Savannah describing the new constitution the convention had written, clarifying its differences from that of the United States. While Lincoln referred to the famous line "all men are created equal" in the Declaration of Independence, Stephens replied, "Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas" and called slavery a "natural and moral condition". Stephens also outlined economic independence rather than the Federalism of the North, stating, "If Charleston harbor needs improvement, let the commerce of Charleston bear the burden. If the mouth of the Savannah river has to be cleared out, let the sea-going navigation which is benefited by it, bear the burden".

Finally, Stephens also noted the significance of Fort Sumter, which would prove the first issue of his presidency. Lincoln, only a month into his own presidency, ordered a relief expedition after skillfully dodging any agreements with the South that would have served as a political recognition of the CSA instead of considering it a rogue government. He notified South Carolina's Governor Pickens of a delivery of "provisions only", and Pickens turned to General P.G.T. Beauregard, who relayed the information to Stephens. While his cabinet (interestingly, though, not Secretary of State Robert Toombs) called for an attack to clear out the fort, Stephens ordered the CSA to stand down, and Lincoln achieved his goal of feeding Sumter. Stephens was declared "yellow" by many, but the political tide turned back to favor the South a month later when the heavy-handed actions of Union General Lyon in the West attacked parading Missouri State Militia called up by secessionist Governor Claiborne "Fox" Jackson.

While not enough to swing Virginia's support to the South, Yankees were increasingly perceived as brutes, tarnishing Lincoln's image, who sent additional troops to Missouri and Kansas, resulting in secession by Arkansas. Guerilla fighting continued, but it was never enough to make a full move against the South without seeming the aggressor. The quasi-war dragged on for years until Lincoln lost his bid at reelection in 1864, and President Horace Greeley was elected by Copperheads to end the war.

Stephens retired the presidency after his single term (as per the CSA constitution) in 1867 as a hero who had "waited out the Union" and became governor of Georgia, confirming the supremacy of the states. The Confederacy continued on its states' rights, later seeing the secession of the Republic of Texas in 1874 (who later had a number of military disputes with both the US and CS as the West became settled). Attempts were made to add Caribbean and Middle American states to the Confederacy, but each turned into either military blunders or economic burdens. By the 1890s, the South was seen as economically and culturally stunted compared to the great wealth and strength of the industrialized North. A movement began around the turn of the century to rejoin the Union, but many on both sides would refuse. President Theodore Roosevelt's 1907 Goodwill Tour proved for naught after it brought international attention to the deplorable poverty of newly freed Africans and entrenched the crippling conservatism of the nation.

In 1637, on this day a Dutch Convoy defeated Spain off Lizard Point.

Dutch Convoy Defeats Spain off Lizard PointThe Dutch War of Independence had dragged on for some seventy years after the lowland provinces began their attempt to break away from Spain. There were numerous reasons for the rebellion, including cultural and religious differences exacerbated by the birth of Protestantism, political ideals, and, perhaps most importantly, the growth of the Dutch economy. While Spain had made tremendous wealth by conquering the lands of the Aztecs, Inca, and others, Dutch merchants prospered greatly from the increasing maritime trade. This income fueled Dutch desires for independence as well as giving it the ability to hire, train, and outfit some of the greatest soldiers Europe had seen.In 1637, the Dutch economy was soaring. Spanish embargoes had limited Dutch trade for some time, but victories at sea lifting river blockades in 1629 came alongside the timely end of the Polish-Swedish War, which opened the Baltic to safe trading once again. When the Franco-Spanish War erupted in 1635, Spanish Flanders lost its southern trade and instead had to pay hefty tariffs for a route through the north. Along the same time, demand for supplies for the Thirty Years' War in Germany gave an enormous market, easily fed by the victories of the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, which gave the Dutch extensive colonies, including vast sugar plantations in newly conquered regions of Brazil. This massive influx of money led to speculation, including the projects of draining land in Holland and famous spikes in luxury goods such as tulips.

The economy of the small nation depended upon trade at sea, which was readily targeted by the Spanish navy. Miguel de Horna, new commander of the Dunkirk squadron as his predecessor was captured and died of illness, was fresh from the capture of a merchant ship when his fleet came upon a convoy of 28 Dutch and 16 English merchant ships escorted by six Dutch men-of-war off Lizard Point, Great Britain's most southerly tip. Horna's fleet of six galleons and two frigates descended upon the Dutch, whose warships lined up to fight closely while artillery from the armed merchantmen gave support. Three of Horna's ships, including his own flagship, assaulted the Dutch flagship, which was crippled early in the battle. Whether through accident or desperation not to be captured, the Dutch flagship was set aflame. Explosions riddled the Spanish ships when the fire reached the magazine, injuring Horna and turning the tide of battle. The remaining Dutch were able to disengage and make safely for port while the Spanish were forced to limp home for repairs.

The Battle off Lizard Point was said to wreck Horna's nerves. He continued to harass Dutch shipping, though rarely again fighting closely enough to capture prize ships. Two years exactly after his fateful defeat off Lizard Point in 1639, Horna was due to leave Dunkirk and join Admiral Antonio de Oquendo's fleet, but he was pinned by the Dutch blockade under Admiral Maarten Tromp. Horna sailed close to the shore, using batteries from shore as cover. Tromp pursued and came into the shallow waters where the vice-flagship had lost its steerage and run aground. Though he was able to capture the ship, it limited the Dutch maneuvers, and the rest of the Spanish fleet escaped with fair damage.

That October, the fleet under Oquendo was set to escort a series of neutral English transports bringing fresh troops to relieve Dunkirk. Tromp arrived with over one hundred ships to block them, and the Battle of the Downs began. Tromp dispatched several squadrons on tasks of preventing escapes to the north or south and interference by the English populace (gathered to watch the battle) and attacked directly with his three remaining squadrons, using principally fire ships against the large, ungainly Spanish warships. Horna and his seven ships were placed as the vanguard due to their familiarity with the Channel, and Oquendo had already experienced a battle with Tromp that September. Horna's slow hand recommended defensive tactics, and Oquendo had learned a lesson from his humiliation from bravado at the battle on September 16. The battle raged tightly with the Spanish troops meant for Dunkirk used to keep away the grapples of fire ships until a fog fell. Unable to use their artillery, the Dutch were drawn in close, and the Spanish swarmed them. With Tromp imprisoned, the Dutch fleet was in disarray, and the Spanish managed to escape the blockade.

While the war was largely over with Spain increasingly caught up in battles inside Germany and an uprising in Portugal, the Dutch were unable to confirm themselves as masters of the sea. The Republic affirmed its independence in 1648 with the Peace of Munster, and the economy gradually switched to peacetime. However, without maritime laurels to rest on, the Dutch found themselves needing to maintain their navy as protection from privateers. Although losing out in North America to the English, the Dutch would become the principle force in the Pacific, maintaining Formosa despite Chinese attack and expanding their East Indies colonies to include New Holland and New Zeeland.

In 1796, on this day the "Great Apostate" John Bell was born in Nashville, Tennessee. Due to the acute sectional tensions and complex political processes of the bitterly contested 1860 election, he would be voted the sixteenth President of the United States by the Electoral College.

Rise of the "Great Apostate" by David TennerBy that transformative year he was fully established as a highly experienced and balanced national politician, serving in the United States Congress in both the House of Representatives and Senate as well as receiving appointments as House Speaker and Secretary of State for War.

Bell had actually run as a member of the Constitutional Unionist Party, but was originally a Democrat that had become a Whig after falling out with Andrew Jackson. And even though he was a wealthy slaveholder, he was by no means a zealot for slavery expansionism. In fact he was the only Southerner to have opposed the Kansas-Nebraska bill as well as the Lecompton Constitution. As late as 1856, he would refer to slavery as an "accidental and enforced blemish".

Clearly a potential compromise candidate, his road to the White House opened when the Republicans realised that they just could not get a majority of delegations in the House. They actually controlled fifteen delegations, their chances of getting the remaining two necessary were probelmatic, probably involving winning over one Illinois Douglasite and unseating a narrowly elected Breckinridge-Lane man from Oregon - they could theoretically, if united, elect Bell in combination with Bell's own supporters ("Americans", "Oppositionists" etc.) and perhaps a few Douglas Democrats.

And the other factor of course was the mutual hatred in the Democrat Party. The Buchanan and Douglas wings of the Democratic party was so great that probably either candidate would prefer Bell to a rival "Democrat".

In 1861, on this day in Richmond, Virginia, Jefferson Finis Davis officially began his term of office as the first President of the Confederate States.

Jefferson F. Davis
1st Confederate President
February 18, 1961 - March 4, 1867
Jefferson Davis was a graduate of West Point Military Academy (class of 1828) and a veteran of the US Army. He would serve in the US House of Representatives, resign to fight in the Mexican-American War, and then return to Washington as a Senator. He was Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. When his home state of Mississippi seceded from the Union in January of 1861, Davis resigned only to be appointed and then elected the first president of the Confederate States of America.

A new article from the "Two Americas" thread on Althistory WikiaEarly Life

Born the tenth child of Samuel E. Davis and Jane Cook on June 3, 1808, young Jefferson was only a toddler when three of his older brothers fought in the Battle for New Orleans under General Jackson in 1812. He would go on to a career in the army himself, though, graduating from West Point in 1828. As a young soldier, though, he would not see battle.

Part OneWhile serving under General Zachary Taylor he would meet and fall in love with Sarah Knox Taylor. Since the general did not approve of the relationship, Davis resigned from the army (not having yet seen battle) and married Sarah. The two would contract malaria in Louisiana. Sarah died of the disease only three months after the wedding.

After eight years as a recluse, Davis emerged from obscurity to enter politics, becoming the Representative of the at large district of Mississippi. He served almost two terms, during which he met and married Varina Howell of Nachez. They were to have six children, only one of which would present him with grandchildren. He resigned his seat in Washington to fight in the Mexican-American War. After Davis had been injured in the Battle of Buena Vista, President James Polk offered him a post over a militia brigade. Davis refused on constitutional grounds, believing that such a post was the state governor's to confer. It was that governor, in fact that returned him to political office.

Senator from Mississippi

The governor of Mississippi appointed Davis to fill a vacancy in 1846, and the legislature of Mississippi elected him to the seat in January of 1847. He rose in the ranks, and was appointed chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs in 1849. However, he resigned his Senate seat to run for governor of Mississippi, losing by only 999 votes.

His political career was not over, however, for his campaigning for Franklin Pierce earned him the post of Secretary of War under that one-term president. At the end of those four years, in 1856, he won election once again as Senator from Mississippi. During this term, he was a voice of reason against talk of secession coming from other southern politicians. However, when Mississippi seceded from the union in January of 1861, he resigned and returned to Mississippi where the governor commissioned him to be a major general in the Mississippi army.
Alt Biopic continues

In 1874, James Longstreet of Georgia became the third President of the Confederate States, taking his oath of office on the elevated porch of the Alabama Capitol building in Montgomery, the same place where his predecessors in office, Jefferson Davis and Edmund Ruffin, had been inaugurated.

Gettysburg Prayer Part Five by Raymond SpeerDuring the war, Longstreet had been a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia, third in command behind Lee and Jackson. President Davis had promoted him to be the chief of the Confederate Army following the demobilization, but President Ruffin had removed him from that post and installed Jubal Early in it.

Retiring from active service, Longstreet alleged that there was a move afoot to unlawfully deny Negroes their earned veteran's benefits. "If Early will do it to a crippled Negro, is there any reason for a crippled white man to expect better?" asked Longstreet rhetorically. "I want every veteran of our Armiies secure in the knowledge that his country will provide for him in spite of his injury".

Both President Ruffin and General Early expressed great respect and sympathy for veterans of both colors, but the incumbents said the central government did not have the money to open a nation wide chain of"soldiers and sailors" homes for injured vets. Those who disagreed rallied behind Longstreet's bid for president in 1873.

James Longstreet associated himself with his fellow Confederate General William "Billy" Mahone, who organized the Readjuster Party in opposition to Ruffin's people, the Citizens Party. Mahone said that the only motivation of a politician should be to readjust things so that public affairs worked better. "We want government that costs less and does more," said Mahone, who endorsed Negro candidates on all levels.

The first National Convention of a Confederate political party was held in New Orleans by the Readjusters. James Longstreet was nominated on the first ballot and Edmund Kirby Smith was chosen as the vice presidential nominee.

Robert M.T. Hunter of Virginia had served President Ruffin as his Secretary of State, and received his chief's endorsement as the presidential candidate for the Citizens Party. Hunter's running mate was Stephen Mallory, who had served with distinction as Navy Secretary to both Davis and Ruffin.

Longstreet complained during the campaign about the naval appropriations which Hunter and Mallory sought from Congress, arguing that money ought be raised for the care and comfort of "amputee heroes and widows and orphans". The Citizens Party retaliated with accusations that Longstreet had been surly and argumentative in his contacts with Lee and Jackson, and one of Lee's clerks even said that Longstreet's poor attitude had forced Lee and Jackson to consider removing him from his corps command on the second day of Gettysburg.

More substantly, the Readjuster Party wanted a law to be passed by the central government to assure Negro voting rights in every State. The Citizens Party backed denial of the ballot on voters who could not prove lteracy, and said voting rights were best left to the States.

The Longstreet- Kirby Smith ticket took 47.6 percent of the popular votes and Hunter-Mallory registered at 45.3 percent of the popular votes. (For the first time, Virginia cast its electoral vote for the loser. Once again, the South Carolina legislature --- and not the people --- decided where SC's electoral votes went, and they would go to Hunter.) Longstreet won the race.

Longstreet's long time friend, Ulysses Grant, had won the 1868 US presidential election from incumbent president George McClellan. On assuming office as CS president, Longstreet made a visit of good will to Washington DC, that was the basis of a week of circuses, fireworks, parades and balls.

By terms of the Davis-McClellan Agreement, the Confederacy had no rights to block or bar or in any way hinder the flow of trade down the Mississippi River. Moreover, the river was patrolled by US ironclads that reported to the federal forces encamped at Vicksburg, MS. President Ruffin and his Secretary of State, Hunter, had long bellyached about the River Rights that the United States insisted on. President Longstreet signed a note with US Grant acknowledging those River Rights and the US ownership of their fortified capitol, Washington DC., as well as the US ownership of West Virginia.

For the Union, there was a recognition that the lower half of the Southwest territory between Texas and Calfornia was the Confederate territory of Arizona, and the northern half was the Union territory of New Mexico. There would be no military buildup on either side of that new border.

With the end of slavery in the South, given the Greatest Christmas Present which cancelled the peculiar institution, Negroes were free to choose new lives, and many of them went west to Arizona. In Longstreet's last year of office, Arizona joined the Confederacy with a population that was 55% Negro and 10% Hispanic. Of a Congressional delegation of four, two Congressmen were Negro, one CS Senator was Negro and the other Senator was Hispanic.

As early as 1872, Horace Greeley had suggested that the two American Governments consider Reunion as the implementation of the Gettysburg Prayer had removed the chief cause of the 1860 breach, the matter of slavery. Greeley had run for president against Grant and lost and died soon afterwards.

When Longstreet came to office, Abraham Lincoln set about to systematically organize a ReUnion effort between the United States and the Confederate States. By the end of the second year of the ReUnion League's business, it reported 50,000 members in the USA and 20 thousand members in the CSA.

President George B. McClellan, seeking appropriations for defensive fortifications, had passed on the purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire and by 1868, Russia had sold Alaska to Britain, which added the province to Canada. When the dictator of Santo Domingo, the eastern segment of Hispanola just across from Hayti, offered to sell the country to the USA, US Grant was determined not to let that opportunity pass.

Outrage was heard in both Houses of the Confederate Congress. The Citizens Party had majorities in both Houses and denounced the"acquisition of territory by the United States" that could "further impair Confederate trade or autonomy". Grant was warned by Longstreet of the agitation that the annexation of Santo Domingo was causing in the South. but Grant ignored the pleas of his old friend. The Santo Domingo Purchase passed the US Congress but only after a crowd of at least 100,000 came from the capitol's Confederate neighbors and protested against the Union's expansion.

Abraham Lincoln wrote in his newspaper column that the South's victory in the War of Secession had rebounded in favor the Reublican Party. "Had the South been re united with the North by battlefield brutality, Governor Tilden the Democrat would now have all the Southern States backing him in the 1876 election, and his victory over the Republicans might appear probable. Instead, Rutherford Hayes has remained in the lead throughout the contest, and is expected to win the presidency next week". As assumed by all, Hayes won a respectable victory over Tilden, even though Tilden won New York's electoral votes

In 1868, in Montgomery, Alabama, the second president of the Confederate States of America, Edmund Ruffin of Virginia, was sworn into office. As a favor to Alabama congress members who were slow in accepting Richmond as the capitol, the incoming president agreed to be sworn into office in the same place that his predecessor, Jefferson Davis, entered office.

Gettysburg Prayer Part Four by Raymond SpeerDavis had spent a year as Provisional President and his six year term as president was so counted from 1861 to 1867. Besides seeing the Confederacy survive a cruel war, Davis had delivered the Gettysburg Prayer of July 31, 1863, and,more challenging, had managed the Big Christmas Present of 1865 which emancipated all slaves in the CSA.

Jefferson Davis had encouraged Robert E. Lee to run for the presidency, but Lee politely but stubbornly refused the honor. Notably, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson volunterred for the race and conducted it on a "Christian" platform of full civil rights for all Confederates. Popular both for his faith in God and his skills as a General, Jackson was a strong candidate for the office.

As ex- US President Lincoln noted on a tour of the South that election year, General Jackson's expression of God's will made Negroes eligible for entry in public schools and churches, brought them into juries and witness podiums, and gave them full contractual rights. "There are men counted as Abolitionists in the North who are not as definite or assertive as General Jackson is on the question of Negro rights".

"Frankly, I find it unbelievable that a population so adverse to Negro personal rights in 1860 are so favorable to the idea in 1867," wrote Lincoln. Lincoln and his wife (blamed by many for the scandal which wrecked Lincoln's support when he may have been on the verge of victory) were recognized and welcomed courteously at all places. "Perhaps my defeat in the late War makes me seem pleasent but ineffectual".

The more conservative candidate was Edmund Ruffin, a famous journalist and advisor on the agriculture and economy of the South. Though not in any office, the Virginian traveled thousands of miles encouraging the establishment of the CSA. At Fort Sumter, Ruffin was given the honor of firing the first cannon ball at the fort and the Yankee flag.

When Lee kept on refusing to run, Ruffin got the support of white conservatives. General Jackson said he welcomed Edmund Ruffin's competition and that he expected Ruffin to compete for the Negro vote.

Jackson carried the Negro vote of the so-called Black Belt while Ruffin won the Border States votes. Jackson accepted his defeat with ease, having acquired 47% of the popular vote.

Over the next six years, President Ruffin vetoed public education bills and organizations that would use public money to build private businesses. He reopened the Citadel and the Virginia Military Institute to serve as West Points for young soldiers of the Confederacy. Ruffin also stationed soldiers on the edge of the Rio Grande, incomfortable with the aid and comfort the United States was promising President Juarez's rival.

"I love this country," said the president. "There is no better place on earth. I wish to celebrate the remainder of my life with my family, in my gardens, until the Good Lord calls me home".

After leaving office in a Montgomery ceremony in 1874 in which James Longstreet of Georgia became the third president of the CSA, Ruffin wrote up a three book sheet of memoirs, only one of which concerned his residency, Ruffin died of a heart condition in 1878.

In 1976, on this day James "Jimmy" Earl Carter Carter, Jr. of the Democratic-Republican party, and former governor of Georgia, is sworn in as the President of the Confederate States of America.

CSA President Jimmy Carter turns the page of Southern History by Gerry ShannonIn his inaugural speech, Carter repeats a sentiment from earlier speeches he made as governor in 1971: "The time of racial segregation is over, and racial discrimination has no place in the future of the Confederacy".

Many observers, both white and black, in both the Confederacy and neighbouring United States, hail Carter's remarks. Not only is Carter the first holder of the office to condemn racism in an inaugural speech, it is clear rebuke of the policies of his much-disliked predecessor, firm segregationist George Wallace.

In 1546, Martin Luther (pictured), leader of the heretical "Protestant movement", died.

Death of a HereticLuther had been excommunicated from the One True Church and arrested as an enemy of the state following his confrontation with Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the 1521 Diet of Worms. Particularly obnoxious to the Church was his assertion that only the Bible, and not the pope, is infallible in matters of religion, and that all baptized Christians form a universal priesthood.

The former monk was fortunate to have been arrested and tried when he was. It would have been all too easy for him to have been condemned to death, or to a lengthy term in one of the abominable prisons of the period. However, the progressive-minded Pope Leo X directed that instead he be confined under house arrest for life. He died in the city of Wittenberg, confined to a monastic cell, surrounded by the symbols of a religious community from which he had been forever excluded. His body would be buried in unhallowed ground, prompting local peasants to concoct legends of him rising after death as a demon.

The movement itself was not so easily destroyed. Others picked up where Luther had been forced to leave off. However, his punishment slowed the spread of his doctrines, allowing the church to mount an effective defense - ironically, by adopting as its own many of the ideas and reforms first championed by Luther. In the opinion of some historians, this course of action averted what could have been the first true schism within the Church since the rise of eastern so-called Orthodoxy centuries earlier.

Today, of course, the church has lost a great deal of its political power. It can no longer decree the removal of a nation's ruler, as it did successfully with the impudent Henry VIII of England. Nevertheless, its influence lingers, even in secular America, where on January 20, 2009, President Barack Obama, following tradition, was sworn into office in penitent's robes by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, D.C.

The case of America is instructive. Founded in considerable measure by religious dissidents and minorities, it has been somewhat of an outlier within the Church's empire on Earth, allowing far more religious liberty than was (or is) common in Europe. Nevertheless, it remains within the fold, if at the edges. The American Church has been a vocal opponent of Marxist apostasy, for example, and Americans attend mass with a frequency priests on the other side of the Atlantic can only envy. The Cross and Stripes flies over a nation both deeply devout and fiercely jealous of its political independence, insisting on a lay presidency with the single exception of the tragically truncated term of Father John Fitzgerald Kennedy - and even the martyred Father Kennedy was required to set aside his clerical title to placate both Church and state. (It was restored by papal decree following his death in Dallas at the hands of atheist fanatic Lee Harvey Oswald.)

In 1953, Gestapo, or state police, of the New Reich arrest a small band of pacifists known as the White Rose. They were non-Jewish allies of the old Greater Zionist Resistance who had been agitating for a return to the democratic rule the G.Z.R. had imposed on most of Europe. The capture, and subsequent execution, of most of their leadership in Bonn gave pause to many other peace movements in Eurasia.
In 2003, troops of the Soviet States of America capture Couer d'Alene, Idaho, in spite of heavy resistance from People's Republic die-hards. The last few rebels disappear into the mountains of Idaho, effectively ending the brief civil war in the Pacific Northwest. Although they have made a few attacks on civilians since the end of the war, the People's Republic of America officially dissolved on this day.


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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.