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

March 5

In 1770, the incident on King Street ended on a note of piercing sadness with the tragic death of a thirty-five year old Puritan minister, Reverend John Adams of Braintree. Upon hearing gun shots, he had rushed out onto the streets of Boston only to be accidentally killed by a stray bullet from a British redcoat.

Incident on King StreetThe humble son of a farmer and shoemaker, he was a fifth-generation descendant of Henry Adams, a Puritan who emigrated from Somerset in England to Massachusetts Bay Colony in about 1638. Sent to Harvard University he had received his ministerial calling and returned to serve the Lord in Massachusetts.

After the accidental shooting he was carried to a nearby inn by the proprietor Richard Palmes, but before he perished his final words of calm assurance were "Liberty will reign in America". Whereupon Palmes, a peacemaker, seized a cudgel in furious anger and returned to the confrontation outside Custom House. And so it began.

In his Secret Speech to the 20th Party Congress Nikita Khrushchev demonized his predecessors's repressive brutality to such an extent that it was simply unimaginable that Joe Stalin's reputation could ever be recovered. After all, he was three years in the grave and unable to respond to the charges (or justify the need for his actions), and to be sure Khrushchev never had the courage to challenge him before his death.

Part 1: the genesis of Stalin's orphans' projectsBecause of the passage of time few if any of those delegates were veterans of the Bolshevik Uprising from four decades earlier, indeed his successors were the men and women who had survived the purges. Stalin had expected to live a much longer life and was shocked how quickly he entered decline after the Great Patriotic War. Of course the strain of that conflict, and Stalin's belief in his decisive role in achieving victory further strengthened his conviction. And so long before his premature demise he was fully aware that the destiny of the Soviet Union could not be left to the complacency of such apparatchiks even if a time was to come when his legacy would be perhaps re-examined more favourably by future leaders when a similar crisis (such as the Great Patriotic War) threatened the Rodina.

And so he anticipated this anti-Stalin reaction (even by his former henchmen such Khrushchev) by creating his own next generation of political heirs who would come to their maturity forty years after his death, quite appropriately being the ruby anniversary. Of course they couldn't co-exist in the same era because of his raging paranoia he would probably have killed them himself. But by the far future he figured, the proven failure of his weak successors would have created a genuine longing for the return of a "Man of Steel".

Consequently the idea that came to Stalin was simple and would bring him some personal enjoyment. He was no Beria - and, anyway, the women brought to his rooms were in awe of him and willing to do their patriotic duty.

Only a proportion of the women would conceive, and then carry a child to full term. Those mothers who were single were married off to men who regarded the benefits provided as sufficient reason to keep quiet and accepted "wartime and other contingencies" for the pregnancies. There was some knowledge of the children among Stalin's closest circle - but they each had limited knowledge, and was given the impression that Stalin was merely indulging his passions. Some among the nomenklatura were involved in the "Stalin's orphans' projects" - funding and monitoring what was understood to be some obscure charitable whim on Stalin's part. Others at lower levels carried out the actual projects, given the understanding that the subject of their ministrations was the only child.

The Ruby Anniversary of 5th March, 1993The children were brought up in widely dispersed homes and localities, and given access to the best resources and opportunities, but as ignorant of the existence of their half-siblings as those monitoring and helping them. Those deemed unsuited to the task Stalin had had in mind would be told at most that they had been selected by some arcane process to be the beneficiary of Stalin's benevolence as part of the orphans' project - and some even of these were to make use of what had been provided, sometimes in ways that would have amused or even interested Stalin. Those who fitted the criteria would be given the requisite information and resources as they grew to sufficient age. Stalin was willing to let his daughters also be beneficiaries - those who succeeded him in office should be given a challenge from across the board.

When Stalin died the exact nature of the "Stalin's orphans' projects" was forgotten among the higher ranks of the nomenklatura - there had been much turnover among them anyway. That Stalin had had relationships in his later years was known to some, and whether there had been offspring of them was the subject of a few crude jokes, which eventually became merely a few vague rumours. The lower level successor administrators proceeded with aiding their various charges, though only partly aware of what was involved. De-Stalinisation may have occurred, but having "someone" (as they saw it) trained in the old ways with the intent of bringing back the glory days of the Soviet Union was seen positively - especially during the years of the Brezhnev stagnation.

Those who passed the requirements were given training in Stalin's writings and ideologies, and provided with material linked to him. Some did decide to get involved in political activities of various kinds, though not necessarily in the way Stalin had intended. Many of his children bore a greater or lesser resemblance to their father, and this was occasionally commented on but the significance was not recognised.

Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, and promoted perestroika and glasnost. A couple of Stalin's heirs decided that this rejuvenation of the Soviet Union was a thing to be promoted, and others were more hard-line. All disagreed with the August Coup, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union - this went against their entire training and ideology.

Stalin had decided that the fortieth anniversary of his death would be the point at which his project would come fully into operation - a whole new generation would now exist, and would need the challenge. Those charged with this part of the project knew little more than that it was the final part of the Stalin orphan's project, and assumed that the packages which they were storing against that date would reflect this.

5 March 1993 came and the material was sent out. Among the documentation and material were letters hand written by Stalin, informing group of their true parentage and inheritance, and told to restore "the USSR" to its full glory. Accompanying material included travel documents to go to Moscow, and general instructions to administrators and others to help the bearers.

A proportion of Stalin's heirs decided to take up the challenge and made their way to Moscow.... To be continued...

In 1953, on this day Joseph Stalin, the Georgian leader of the dissolved Soviet Union died in exile in Siberia.

Fall of the Red TsarThe Communist State was of course a product of the power vacuum created by the Great War. And even though his own autocratic rule had much in common with the Europe of the dictators, he was undone by the rise of Fascism.

Following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he failed to support the left wing properly, believing that Britain and France would not tolerate the rise of Communist Spain. But they also fatally equivocated; when they failed to prevent the Spanish Legion crossing the Mediterranean, the game was up. And worse was to follow, when General Franco, who had a studied aversion to Hitler, died and was replaced by new pro-German leaders.

By 1939, the Western Allies policy of appeasement had left the Soviet Union undefended, because London and Paris clearly hope that Hitler would pursue expansion in the East. This fear was crystallized by the tripartite signature of the Daladier-Halifax-Ribbentrop accord in London during September. And within twelve months, the Wehrmacht would strike East, destroying the Soviet Union.

The outcome was of little surprise to Leon Trotsky, who had always advocated world revolution, believing that the policy of Communism in one country was bound to fail. But of course in a larger sense, they would both readily agree that the working class had been betrayed once again by a conspiracy of the Capitalist elite.

In 1917, the President kept it short. Really, there wasn't all that much more to say. The Germans had been waging unrestricted U-Boat war for over a month. Several American ships had already been torpedoed, and in at least one case the lifeboats had been destroyed afterwards. Now, they had tried to inveigle Mexico into war with the US, cheerfully offering her three States of the Union as reward. And their Foreign Minister had brazenly admitted as much to the world's press. "What kind of people do they think we are?".
Continues from Mr Hughes Goes To War: Part 1.

Mr Hughes Goes to War: Part 2 by Mike StoneHughes briefly recounted America's grievances, concluding. "It is no longer a matter of going to war, since for all practical purposes the war is already in progress. Nothing remains save to make formal acknowledgement of what is already the case. I therefore call upon the congress to declare , at once, that a state of war now exists between the United States and the German Empire".

In the event, it wasn't quite "at once". The House complied, but a few isolationists made a last-ditch resistance in the Senate, which didn't concur until March 8. But the time had not been wasted. Even as the Senators argued, soldiers had been assembling at the ports of the east coast, and the first troopship would sail as soon as the war resolution passed. Ironically, it was a German ship, trapped in a US port since 1914, and which Hughes had ordered seized three months before in response to the Algonquin business.

By the end of March, a US regiment was already at the western front Secretary Roosevelt sought to resign form the Cabinet,and raise a regiment of his own to fight in France. The President refused, insisting that he was needed where he was. "Do you think I wouldn't like to be where Charlie is?" He asked; (Charles Evans Hughes, Jr, had been on the "Lafayette", the first troopship to sail from New York) but we old men have our work to do right here". Privately, he had other motives, which he confided to his diary. "I'm not having that man grandstanding it in France, playing the conquering hero when things go well, and letting me take the ructions when they don't. If the war takes a bad turn, I want him as deeply implicated as myself. If he thinks he can undermine me the way he did to poor Bill Taft, he has another think coming".

Roosevelt was far from pleased, but he complied, observing to Senator Lodge "The country would not understand my resignation at such a time over such an issue". Hughes sugared the pill by arranging for all of Roosevelt's sons to go speedily to France, and promising that Quentin's bride-to-be, Flora Payne Whitney, would be allowed to travel to Europe for their wedding. TR, meanwhile, resigned himself to the inevitable, and worked all hours (to the point where his faily feared for his health) to get the American Army into action. By Christmas 1917, thanks partly to him and partly to the decisions taken by Hughes on coming to office, there were six US Divisions in the line. By the end of February 1918, there would be twelve.
To be continued.

In 1770, revulsed by the lynching of British Redcoats on King Street, the Bostonian silversmith Paul Revere converted to the loyalist cause, later serving with distinction in the Massachusetts Volunteers at the Battle of Long Island and the capture of New York City.

Nightmare on King StreetDespite this exemplary military service and not to mention his famous engravings of the Boston Massacre, it was his "midnight ride" that turned him into an iconic hero.

Revere helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the patriot militia. In service as a messenger to the crown on April 18, 1775 he received intelligence that one William Dawes had set off to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the movements of the British Army, which was beginning a march from Boston to Lexington, ostensibly to arrest Hancock and Adams and seize the weapons stores in Concord.

Anticipating a bloody confrontation like King Street writ large he set off on horseback to warn the King's regulars that they would be met by formations of patriot militia. Due to his tireless energy, wiser heads prevailed and Adams and Hancock were left to enjoy their liberty, for the time being at least.

In 1982, at a late-night party, one of many in comedian John Belushi's "live fast, die young, leave a good lookin' corpse" lifestyle, singer and drug-guru Cathy Smith prepared to inject Belushi with eleven doses of speedball (combined cocaine and heroin) for the ride of his life

John Belushi Skips Speedballing However, fellow comedian Robin Williams finally announced he could not stand how "creeped out" he felt about Smith, whom he described in an interview as a "lowlife". Rather than leaving as actor Robert De Niro had done, Williams began to voice his disapproval in the same loud and energetic voice used in his standup routines. Smith countered in a shrill argument, and Belushi, half-doped, called out that he was through. The shouting was bringing him down more than the drugs could have thrilled him, so he marched out and into the night.

Eventually, he would come across fellow Saturday Night Live star Dan Ackroyd's house, break in, and crash on the floor. It was a common habit of Belushi, who would often stumble from rehearsals so exhausted that he would arrive at the homes of friends (or even strangers), root in the refrigerator, dominate the television, and sleep on couches. The inside joke served as the topic of an SNL comedy sketch in which Jane Curtain and Bill Murray are haunted by "The Thing That Wouldn't Leave," one of many moments that made him famous. While some considered him a man out of control, Belushi was clearly a genius as a comedian. On his thirtieth birthday in 1979, he was a star in Animal House (the top film in the country), SNL (the highest-rated late night TV show), and on The Blues Brothers: Briefcase Full of Blues (the number one album in the U.S). His future seemed bright, despite the shadow of overwork and drugs.

After his ordeal on March 5, Belushi decided to tone down his crazy lifestyle. Shortly thereafter, he appeared on SCTV with Dave Thomas and John Candy, the latter of whom shared struggles and became confidants to keep one another in physical health. Belushi informally joined Narcotics Anonymous, an organization he would hop into and out of over the next decade before making a decision to stay. Cocaine would be a constant distraction over the course of his life, and he would often use it to give him the stamina for long sessions of filming and writing. His career would shift away from TV and firmly into movies over the 1980s, starring in films such as Ghostbusters and Spies Like Us with Dan Ackroyd. As his movie career began to fade in the early '90s, Belushi thought of returning to TV with a madcap sitcom with his musician brother, Jim, but a casual discussion over the film Animal House gave him a new path into politics. During the ending of the film, John's character "Bluto" Blutarsky is described as becoming a US Senator, and Belushi famously said, "I could do that".

His first few years in politics were full of fumbles, balancing his popularity with his lack of seriousness, but Belushi would be triumphant when he narrowly defeated Sonny Bono for US Representative in California's 44th District in 1995. From there, Belushi would do well under the Clinton administration, working to promote anti-drug campaigns and funding for arts. He decided to retire from politics after his term, claiming there wasn't "enough limelight and too many comedians" and returned to television in the highly acclaimed West Wing as the somewhat maniacal Senator Blutarsky. His triumphant return to movies in the universally applauded Blues Brothers 2000 made way for numerous appearances in films by Wes Anderson and the Coen Brothers.

On his 60th birthday in 2009, Belushi was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in comedy. He and his wife of thirty-six years, Judy Jacklin, continue to write and produce while John has slowed down his acting schedule. In an interview, he said that he was hoping to outlive all of his SNL castmates (to which Chevy Chase quipped, "Only if it kills me") as was joked about in the famous "Don't Look Back In Anger" short film by Tom Schiller.

In 1801, the state militias dispatched by the Republican Governors of Pennsylvania and Virginia marched into Washington City to unseat Federalist President John Marshall and force into office his cousin, the Democrat Republican Thomas Jefferson.

Republicans Burn Down the Executive MansionThe Constitution required that in the event of an electoral deadlock, the House must choose a President "immediately". Problem was that the popular choice was a Republican who had won a majority in the nations vote but could not muster the same in the Electoral College, forcing power into the hands of the Federalist-dominated House of Representatives.

Instead of horse-trading with either the Republican Candidates (Thomas Jefferson or Aaron Burr), instead they chose forty-six year old John Marshall who John Adams had appointed as Secretary of State on the 6th of June 1800. Because Adams had lost the 1800 election, Marshall's term of office was due to expire 4th of March 1801. In anticipation of an imminent departure from the Cabinet on 31st of January 1801 he accepted a new appointment as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Whilst there was a certain inexorable logic to the selection of Marshall, he was ultimately a Federalist as were the "Midnight Judges" appointed by Adams at the bitter end of his single term Presidency. Not only were Republicans enraged that Jefferson would be denied his righful place as the "People's President", they also saw further conspiracy in the Federalist actions. Because Jefferson's "revolution of 1800" threatened to sweep away all vestiges of the first three Presidential terms. And so the actions of the House were perceived to be a "counter-revolution" of 1801.

In the event, matters came to a violent ending and the Executive Mansion was set ablaze. Because the building was so badly charred, it was necessary to white wash the exterior, and the Executive Mansion was renamed the "White House".

In 1917, on this day Bryan's face was grim as he read the newspaper articles1. It was mostly him they denounced, rather than Marshall, but it was the President they truly aimed at, increasingly hopeful that he would come over to their side.

Chapter of Accidents; How Bryan Returned From The DeadHe scowled at the thought of that New York Times editorial, chiding him for never mentioning liberty in his speeches. They were fine ones to talk. Should war come, they would be happy enough to draft young men into a war that was none of theirs, and imprison them should they dare to object. Some people's liberty evidently counted for more than others'. The old, old story. But he was more hurt by the attitude of those New Jersey Methodists, who had refused to express even the desire for a peaceful solution to the crisis. How could Christians do that? And some of his fellow Presbyterians were hardly better.

Part 4 of a new story by Mike Stonend they were playing the economic card as well. The papers were full of stuff about goods piling up on wharves and wheat piled up in railroad sidings, stranded because ships no longer dared to sail. Actually, this would soon have been happening anyway, now that the Allies had no collateral left to provide security for loans. They had tried to raise unsecured ones, but even the Wilson Administration and the Federal Reserve Board had not been that reckless. The Allies had run out of other people's money - unless they could get the financial taps reopened by bringing America into the conflict. But were the eastern papers explaining that to their readership? In a pig's eye. It was so much easier just to scream for war.

"Nothing new under the sun" he thought. It was as if he had been swept back twenty years, to those passionate days of '96, when workers who might have voted for him were warned by their employers that if he were elected, they "needn't bother coming to work tomorrow", because his victory would put the nation out of business. Scare tactics then, scare tactics now. Roosevelt had even dismissed his offer of a debate[2]. They had never relied on honesty when dealing with him.

He had always opposed such loans, with or without security. He recalled that Cabinet meeting, back in 1915, when they were rattling on about the British blockade, and the broader or narrower definition of contraband. He had told them then "Money is the worst of all contrabands because it commands all the rest". They hadn't listened, of course. The lure of easy profits had been too strong. And now they, or others like them, were trying to maintain those profits by stampeding the country into Armageddon.

Not that the Germans were any help. For all his piety, he had to bite back a swear word when he thought of them. At times, their behaviour made them seem like their own worst enemies - even giving Lodge and Roosevelt serious competition there - in their readiness to do precisely the wrong thing at crucial moments. This note to Mexico was bad enough, all but cutting the ground from under Bryan's feet. And the Laconia business couldn't have come at a worse time. Even his stomach had turned over at the news.

Yet did it really invalidate what he had always said? After all, hadn't the British themselves shown that they agreed with him - in deed if not in word. Their authorities at Halifax had taken women and children off a liner setting sail into the danger zone - but three American women, whose government imposed no such rule, had been allowed to remain aboard [3]. And had the ladies' journey really been essential? Could they not have waited a while, till the carnage was over?

He had suggested action similar to Canada's, but Marshall could not be persuaded, feeling it a limitation too far, and possibly beyond his powers without legislative authority which might not be obtainable. Bryan wondered if this was the real reason. He sensed, uneasily, that the President was staring to weaken.

It was as he had feared. Tom Marshall and himself were similar, but not the same. Those three hard fought campaigns had tempered his own steel, putting him through a Refiner's Fire that Marshall had not known. He, Bryan, had been tempered, given that extra bit of strength to stand alone, and recognise those moments when everyone really was out of step except himself. Marshall also recognised them in theory, but found it much harder in practice. Easy-going and keen to get along with folk, he was yielding to that sneaky voice that says "They can't all be wrong, can they?" Bryan could see whose voice it really was, but Marshall couldn't. Tragically, that decent but weak man was being tested beyond his strength.


The President felt sick. He had hoped that relief from the tensions would come on Inauguration Day, when Congress would go into recess. Legally, the new one would not convene until December, unless Marshall chose to summon it before. But that was now unavoidable. The war hawks had filibustered important items of legislation, preventing their enactment during the present session. One of them was the annual Army Bill. If that were not re-enacted by June 30, there would be no funds for the US Army. So Congress would be back in June at latest, to pass those measures, and to also do - who knew what?[4]

And his brilliant stroke of putting Underwood in at State was threatening to backfire. The Senator had raised hackles on all sides of the political spectrum, by his speech defending the proposed German alliance with Mexico. His point - that the agreement was only to take effect in the event of a US declaration of war on Germany, and was not a plan of attack - was technically correct, but hardly what the nation - still goggling at the notion of three of its sovereign states being offered to a foreign power - wanted to hear just now. It was universally agreed that had Underwood made the speech before his confirmation vote, he would have been rejected, Senatorial courtesy or no. But what to do? Marshall would look ridiculous were he to dismiss the man only days after appointing him.

For a crazy moment, he had even thought of suppressing the telegram altogether, at least till the Congressional Recess. But, apart from the obvious wrongness of deceiving the American people in such a way, it would never have worked. Ambassador Page was a Wilson man, who had contempt for Marshall, and owed him no political debts. He would have found a way to leak the note, and if he hadn't the British surely would. Even Bryan and Underwood had agreed that there was no alternative to publication.

And the news about the submarine war had taken, if it were possible, an even uglier turn. The liner Laconia had been sunk in the Western approaches, and two American women were among the dead. A mother and daughter, they had been close friends of the widowed Edith Galt Wilson. In a cruel twist, they had both come through the sinking - only to die of exposure in the lifeboat. Yes, he knew all Bryan's arguments, and well reasoned they were. But he didn't feel reasonable now. He just kept seeing those women freezing slowly to death. And did their lives not count because they weren't on an American ship at the time. A government who could order such things was a government of brutes, and was it not indeed a government of cowards which left the victims to their fate - whatever ship they were on?

Marshall's eyes burned. Far in the background, he yet heard the still small voice of a Vice President - newly succeeded to the White House - who had told the American people he would never call them to war till an invader's foot was actually planted on their soil. But that voice was growing fainter now, drowned out by the calls to duty on all sides, and the cries of dying women.

Bryan would be here in a short time. He had begged to see the President urgently, and after their closeness over the last two months, Marshall could not deny him. But it was surely too late. Events were acquiring a momentum of their own, and he was being swept along. Maybe they were going over Niagara Falls, but the President could see no way back. He wondered if he had made a mistake in granting this interview. Even now, might Bryan's silver voice sway him to the other course? But he did not think so. Within a few hours, Count Bernstorff would be on his way home, and from there it was only too plain where the path led. Wildly, he thought for a second of offering Bryan his resignation - "Take this cup from me!" but knew he could not do it. If he did that, he really would be the coward that Roosevelt and others were calling him, and how was it better to let Bryan steer America on a course with which he, Marshall, did not truly believe, than it would be to take that course himself?

Perhaps the summons to Bernstorff should be issued now. Then he could tell Bryan, apologetically, that the die was already cast. That too, felt shameful, but the temptation was too strong. He just could not bear any more of this. He sat up straighter, and began to raise his arm. But as he did so, the chest pains suddenly returned, fiercer than he had ever known them. He paused in his chair, waiting for them to ease, as they always had. But they did not. They grew stronger still, and Marshall suddenly realised he could not see properly. The room was growing dim around him. Frantically, he stretched out his hand, clawing for the bell which would summon his staff.

He never reached it


They found the President's body twenty minutes later, when Bryan arrived at the White House, and frantically called his doctor, who concluded that Marshall had suffered a massive coronary; his first, his last. Probably brought on by the strain of recent days. [5]

But Bryan had his own opinions on the matter, and felt the bile rising as he thought of them. The medical men could put what they liked on the certificate, but he knew the real cause of death. It was Lodge and Roosevelt, those vile Republicans, and the rest of their pack. Their cruel attacks on this good man, who had sought only to save young lives, had finally been too much for him. The warmongers' unrelenting storm of abuse had, quite literally, broken Mr Marshall's heart.

Dimly, as from somewhere far in the background, Bryan could hear a voice telling him he was wrong to be so partisan. After all, the Wilson Cabinet, Democrats to a man. had also counselled war. And the Germans too, he knew, were not exactly blameless. But he was in no mood to listen. He burned inside, with fury at those who had hounded Marshall to death; Marshall, who had never sought to harm any man, but to help all. "You did it" he thought, over and over again. "You might as well have murdered him".

Those wicked men had killed the President as surely as if they had thrust a knife through him. No, not a knife - a bayonet, one of those things they wished to train young Americans to use, so that they could murder other boys far away in Flanders or France. Whatever crocodile tears they might shed in their non-existent hearts, they would care no more for this death than for all the others who would have to die in Europe in pursuit of their goals. They must not succeed. No doubt they were able men in their way - Roosevelt certainly was - but morally they were lower than vermin.

Yet was he himself any better? After all, 20 years ago he had supported war with Spain, and more recently, as Secretary of State, had defended Mr Wilson's invasion of Mexico. "Yes", he thought, "I am a sinner too; but never more". Whatever anyone might say or do, from now on he saw his duty clear. The campaign for war had cost Mr Marshall's life, and if worst came to worst might even cost his own; but no others.

And in June, when the current Army appropriation ran out? Well, he thought, it would only be for six months, and there would likely be Americans willing to lend money to tide things over that long. But if not, too bad: The Navy and the National Guard would have to hold the ring. It wasn't as if the country were in any imminent danger of attack, and should she be the money would be voted fast enough. But short of that, and though the heavens fell, Congress would not meet before December.

Ironic, this; he had always been against a standing army, preferring militia instead, and been denounced for it as an idealistic fool. Now these gentlemen on the Hill, in their crude attempt at blackmail, were virtually imposing that policy in spite of him. The ways of the Lord were strange indeed - -.

He looked down at Marshall's Bible, still open on the desk, at the thirteenth Chapter of the Book of Job. Bryan read verse 15 "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. I will maintain mine own ways before him". Yes indeed. For what he would do or not do in the next eight months, Congress might impeach him in December. Some fanatics might even seek his life. Well, let them. He knew what he had to do. Thank Heaven the Senate had already voted to confirm Oscar Underwood as the new Secretary of State. He would make a good successor should the worst befall.

"Tom". he whispered. "Tom, I always wanted to be President; but I never wanted to get it like this. Not by a good man like you being driven to your grave. As God is my witness, I never wanted that".

Bryan felt something drip onto his hand, and noticed, for the first time, the tears which were streaming down his face. He frantically wiped them away. For pity's sake, the Chief Justice would be here in a few minutes. He couldn't receive him in this state. He had to pull himself together.

He had come at last to the office he craved, though in the way he would least have wished. He had wanted it from the people, the plain folk whose champion he had sought to be. He never thought to get it by a quirk of the electoral system, followed by a tragic, undeserved death, after the people had rejected him three times. But it was too late to worry about that. The Secretary of State (the only alternative) would be no more the people's choice than he. The time for such thoughts had been two months ago, when that telegram came. In accepting the Vice-Presidency, he had put his hand to the plough, accepting the responsibilities which went with it - Presidential succession included. If the people found him wanting, they could judge him in 1920. For now he must do his duty, however heartbreaking the manner in which it had fallen on him.

And yet, for all his bitter grief, he felt exaltation as well. He had not been so animated since those far off days of 1896, when the world was young. Yes, he had ample stomach for this fight. The war profiteers were not going to crucify mankind upon another Cross of Gold. They were already doing so in Europe, but that was beyond his power. The European boys he could not save. But the American ones he would - even against the will of some of them - so long as he had breath.

* * * * *

Chief Justice Edward D White stepped forward. He too, was trying hard to compose himself. It was, he supposed, an event that would put him in the record books: the first Chief Justice - the first anyone - to swear in two Presidents on the same day. Not to mention Bryan's own. His record for the shortest Vice-Presidency in American history (six hours, for Pete's sake!) was likely to stand for a very long time indeed. But it was a shattering blow all the same. And what did the future hold? Bryan was likely to be even more of a wild card than Marshall [ 6 ]. Still, he had a duty to perform.

"Do you, William Jennings Bryan, solemnly swear?"

"I, William Jennings Bryan, do solemnly swear - -"


In 1964, on this day White Citizens' Councils received copies of "Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice" as the US Government braced the country for a fresh wave of negro insurgency code-named "Freedom Summer".

Freedom SummerThe author of the publication was French lieutenant colonel David Galula who as a research fellow at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs had set down the lessons of his experience in the Algerian War. His bold introduction "a Negro movement trying to exploit the Negro problem as the basis for a [violent] insurgency in the United States .. would be doomed from the start" had captured the attention of University professors that had contacted the US military leadership who were increasingly desperate for answers.

Unsurprisingly the man considered by the US military leadership to be the putative head of the negro insurgency, Robert F. Williams strongly disagreed with Galula's assessment that the armed struggle was doomed. Williams had been carrying a pistol ever since he revitalized a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Marion, North Carolina. And in "Negroes With Guns" he had published an influential manifesto that rejected nonviolent tactics and argued for black self-defense. Several groups adopted this policy. The best known of these, the Deacons for Defense and Justice, consisted largely of veterans of World War II and the Korean War who were now at war with their former colleagues in the military.

In 1871, on this day revolutionary heroine Rosa Luxembourg is born in Zamos, Poland.

Worker's ParadiseAfter marrying a German worker in 1898, she began a labor movement in her adopted country, merging with the Social Democratic Party just prior to the Great War. The mass disillusionment with the royalist system that had led Germany into the war gave the SDP a huge boost, and they took control of the country in the elections of 1932, defeating the hard-right National Socialists in a hard-fought, corrupt campaign that was marred by violence and barely recognized by the rest of Europe.

Once in office, Chancellor Luxembourg sought to create a true "Worker's Paradise" to match the slogans that the reality of Russia's revolution had made so laughingly absurd. The SDP proved equal to the task, though, with their revolutionary fervor moderated slightly by their right-wing enemies. Germany pulled out of the world-wide depression and became a model of labor-government-business cooperation. Its model spread to France, then the smaller nations of central Europe and Scandinavia. Frau Luxembourg died in 1948, her dream of a just German society fulfilled.

In 1844, after weeks of wrangling, the Colonial Reform Act is defeated in Parliament.

The final blow comes when Queen Victoria personally expresses opposition. A substitute measure proposes abolishing the hated Order Police, established after the first American rebellion, and dividing the OP's internal-security functions between Scotland Yard's colonial offices and the individual colonies' British garrisons.

 - Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria

In 1811, taking advantage of the overthrow of Spain's King Charles IV, Mexican independentistas publish the 'Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of North America.

The text reveals the influence of the British colonial expatriates in the rebel movement: much of it is copied from the never-ratified Philadelphia Declaration of 1776.

Overthrown Monarch
Overthrown Monarch - Charles IV
Charles IV

Moreover, although ostensibly a proclamation of Mexico's reasons for seeking independence, the document, beginning with its title, is worded to imply support for the independence of Britain?s North American holdings as well.

Nature Boy

On this day in 1982, Tommy Rich defeated Ric Flair in Baltimore to win his second NWA world heavyweight title.

Rich then proceeded to confirm widespread suspicions that his attitude had changed for the worse by denouncing the fans as 'losers', 'scum', and 'not fit to clean sidewalks' in a vicious post-match harangue.

Nature Boy - Ric Flair
Ric Flair
In 2004, in the early morning, the command center for the Titan mission receives a short message from Command Meriweather. 'Crabs exploded all over the containment area,' he says. 'Knocked out a good portion of the ship. We'll be limping in.' Deep space tracking locates the Huygens, thousands of miles off course, but still slowly making its way back to earth.
In 1969, Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Perceptions, is arrested on stage after he allegedly exposes himself at a concert in Miami, Florida. The arrest for lewd behavior makes Morrison a cause celebre for rock stars across the world, and they become very vocal in his defense. When Morrison is brought to trial, the crowd outside the Dade County Courthouse outnumbers the crowd that had supposedly seen him expose himself.
In 1953, Isoeb Dzhugashvili died in exile in the Soviet States of America. Dzhugashvili, known for decades in the Russian Empire as the terrorist Stalin, had struggled against the bourgeois dictatorship the Tsar had established after the failed revolution of 1917 since its inception, and was a welcome guest of the American government when he had to flee the country in 1938.
In 1952, Velma Porter and Mikhail von Heflin are forced off their train at Wiesbaden, Germany. They have encountered an old enemy of the Baron's, and leave before it can endanger the other passengers on the train. They escape into a forest, where they battle the strange creature to the death. After their victory, they slip onto the next train they see heading east, something they will soon come to regret.
In 1616, agents of the Speaker's Line obtain the forbidden text de Revolutionibus by Copernicus, a radical work forcing them rethink their basic goals. Although both factions of the Speaker's Line have had some small successes in flight, they are starting to see that the heavens are far higher than Telka had imagined.
In 1461, the Bishop of York deposes Pope Henry VI and is crowned Pope Edward IV. His sons will be the last generation of the Plantagenet line to rule the Holy British Empire. His reign marks the last 2 decades of the War of the Roses.
In 1969, Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Perceptions, is arrested on stage after he allegedly exposes himself at a concert in Miami, Florida. The arrest for lewd behavior makes Morrison a cause celebre for rock stars across the world, and they become very vocal in his defense. When Morrison is brought to trial, the crowd outside the Dade County Courthouse outnumbers the crowd that had supposedly seen him expose himself.
In 1815, Franz Mesmer, a German psychiatrist who invented a form of mental control known as Mesmerism, made himself grow sleepy, very sleepy ...
In 669, the Jewish grand vizier of Persia, Sa'ad al'Da'ulah, narrowly avoids assassination by Muslims seeking to put an end to his influence in Islam's mightiest nation. Al'Da'ulah convinces the Persian Shah to enforce the Koran's admonishment to allow men the practice of their own faith, and Persia becomes a haven for infidel refugees across Islam.
In 1770, British soldiers exercise uncommon restraint when faced with a crowd of belligerent colonists in Boston, Massachusetts. In spite of taunts, threats and snowballs hurled at them, they do not move from their position in front of the Customs House, calming a large portion of the colony, which had feared the presence of British troops would quickly escalate into violence.

March 4

In 1789, on this day the office of the Vice Presidency was formed in New York City, the first holder would be the indefatigable John Adams who took up the post on April 21st and almost immediately set about profoundly changing it.

The Triumph of the Duke of BraintreeHis previous executive position was Chair of the Board of War and Ordinance (effectively Secretary of War during the outset of the American Revolution) where had had served with distinction but after that tenure of one year he had spent a decade away from the action in Europe. To be sure, he undertook a series of brilliantly executed initiatives in the pursuit of strategic national interest, particularly with regards finance and national recognition, but he was unable to directly influence the development of the machinery of the Government as he would have wished. As a result of his absence, he was sadly missed during the deliberations at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Of course not long after he returned, many might have given pause to wish that this dominating personality might return to Europe.

Had he been present at Philadelphia, almost certainly envisaging himself in the role, then a lot of unpleasantness might well have been avoided. Because the office designed by committee was quite frankly a mixed bag of confused ideas. Indeed the main functions were to remain available if the President fell ill and also to serve as President Pro Tem, the Presiding Officer of the Senate.

General Washington determined that his presence in the Senate made him a member of the Legislative Arm of the Federal Government and excluded him from Cabinet Deliberations. And members of the Senate decided that he was not permitted to participate in debates. He could however casting tie-breaking votes and did so frequently (partly due to the then small size of the Senate). Of course this arrangement introduced unnecessary conflict and suited no one. Under Adams own proposals with Senate Leaders (by this stage more than willing to hear any suggestion that would remove him from the Congress), the role of President Pro Tem became a post elected by the Senate itself, and being released, he was permitted to rejoin Cabinet deliberations. Needless to say, Washington had never actually wanted the argumentative Adams inside the Cabinet (he preferred deferential subordinates such as Hamilton and von Steuben) and instead his highly vocal presence fundamentally altered the course of the General's unhappy single term of office. On the positive side, the circumstances of "the argument" made it easier for Jefferson and Adams to work together as a team after 1793. To be continued (further details of the argument will follow in the next installment).

In 1975, on this day the Menlo Park Police Department discovered a grisly murder scene at Gordon French's garage.

The Murders at the Homebrew Computer Club by Robbie Taylor and Ed.French and his friend Fred Moore had first met at the Community Computer Center. They agreed to share a regular, open forum for people to get together to work on making computers more accessible to everyone. Unfortunately these techies had been way too trusting and this residential event had drawn the attention of the Manson Family, a commune of extremely dangerous individuals who - rumour had it - were behind the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Amongst the victims were Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Paul Allen and Bill Gates. The latter individual had been discovered with an Open Letter to Hobbyists, which lambasted the early hackers of the time for pirating commercial software programs. Perhaps he might have changed his mindset and even become someone famous in this glorious Open Source future, had he lived.

In 1950, on this day Rick Perry was born to ranchers Joseph Ray Perry and the former Amelia June Holt in the unincorporated community of Paint Creek in north central Texas.

Democrat PerryHe graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in animal science before serving in the Air Force. Retiring with the rank of Captain, he returned to Texas, and went into business farming cotton with his father.

In 1984 he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat from district 64, which included his home county of Haskell. He served on the House Appropriations and Calendars committees during his three two-year terms in office. Also he befriended fellow freshman state representative Lena Guerrero of Austin, a staunch liberal Democrat.

He supported Al Gore in his successful 1988 Presidential bid as chairman of the Gore campaign in Texas. Thereafter, he served for eight years as the 23rd United States Secretary of Agriculture.

In 1913, on this day Teddy Roosevelt is inaugurated for a third, non-consecutive term of office as US President.

Roosevelt Runs Alone No one is quite certain who made the suggestion, and a dozen or more delegates have claimed it, but a little after midnight during the second day of the Progressive Party 1912 Convention in Chicago, someone said, "TR, why not just run yourself and have the Republicans come crawling back to you?" He had planned to have Hiram Johnson, Governor of California, as a running mate, but Roosevelt liked the idea. The Republicans had become corrupt and bloated, and so many of the Progressive Party members were former Republicans that they had a chance of overcoming the upper echelons that had gotten comfortable and were now in league with trusts (as Roosevelt often speculated). They had renominated Taft and VP James Sherman over him, causing the Progressives to reconvene with their own party. Roosevelt could think of no sweeter revenge, and no greater victory for the country, than to win back the control of the Republican Party.

Elections in 1912 were bloodthirsty. In October, when it became clear that Taft could not possibly win, the Republican Party began to reevaluate. They knew Progressives were winning on state and local levels, but they felt they still had a stranglehold on the national government. If they lost that to the Democrats, however, then they would have nothing. After many backroom deals, they finally approached Roosevelt about reforming the two parties.

Roosevelt launched into the idea, having plotted for months about his actions. With great enthusiasm from the public, the scene was played publicly like a triumphant family reunion. Sherman stayed with him as VP while Taft was promised the Secretary of State. Although many who disapproved of Roosevelt voted for Wilson's "New Freedom" and limited government, Roosevelt narrowly won the election campaigning on the idea of a "Square Deal" for all.

Back in office as the second president to split his terms (Grover Cleveland having done so some thirty years before), Roosevelt set about punishing trusts with legal force and training up workers to pursue legal and public fights for fairness rather than depending on "socialist" strikes. The first two years ran fluidly, though the public began to grow tepid toward his ideals and thought more of limited government. After nervousness about his interventions in Latin America, voters in the 1914 elections swung support of Congress to Democrats.

Later that year, war broke out in Europe. Roosevelt was eager to become involved, but Congress refused to budge on declarations of war despite potential violations of treaties, such as the use of illegal chlorine gas by the Germans. Going without an army, Roosevelt went as a negotiator to Europe in 1915 to see if he might end the war as he had the Russo-Japanese War. The embroiled nations refused to budge as trench warfare continued. Defeated, Roosevelt returned to campaign for his reelection.

Again, the Republican Convention turned against him. After another threat of making a third party, it was mentioned to him that he couldn't be president if he were going to lead an expeditionary force in the war. Roosevelt then happily withdrew and campaigned with his endless energy for the candidate Charles Hughes. However, Democrat Woodrow Wilson would win on promises of maintaining peace. Despite promises, the peace would be shattered in 1917 with the sinking of the Lusitania, and Roosevelt would approach the White House with plans of leading an expedition to settle the European war. Wilson would decline the former president's offer.

Feeling dually betrayed, Roosevelt decided to raise up a force of volunteers anyway. While cries of treason began to go out, Wilson diplomatically funneled Roosevelt's efforts into the actual military and conscripted Roosevelt into home defense as a public face to Hoover's U.S. Food Administration. Though he would sit out the war, his son Quentin would participate as a pilot and give his life for his country. Roosevelt would never speak of war positively again.

In 1920, the country had tired of Wilson and his dealings in Europe, even to the point of the Senate refusing his League of Nations treaty. Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, attributed to stress, and the Democrats were in rough shape for the election. The Republicans, meanwhile, readied Roosevelt for an unprecedented fourth term. He swept elections and returned to the White House in 1921. These would prove turbulent years with race issues, Republican dealings like naming Taft as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and political scandals such as the Teapot Dome Affair, though business affairs would flow smoothly, and Roosevelt became visibly tired. By the end of his term, he did not seek reelection and let the office fall to his VP Calvin Coolidge.

After a year of rest, Roosevelt decided to put off a trip to the Amazon he had been planning for a long time with the Museum of Natural History in New York. Despite suggestions of his family that he stay home and retire, Roosevelt launched his expedition up the Rio da Duvida (River of Doubt) at age 66. The expedition would never be seen again. Roosevelt would go down as perhaps history's greatest Missing Person.

In 1152, on this day Frederick I Barbarossa was elected King of the Germans; he was crowned in the city of Aachen six days later.

Triumph of the Red Bearded CrusaderHe became King of Italy in 1155 and was finally crowned Roman Emperor by Pope Adrian IV on 18 June 1155. Two years later, the term "sacrum" (i.e. "holy") first appeared in a document in connection with his Empire.He was then also formally crowned King of Burgundy at Arles on 30 June 1178. He got the name Barbarossa from the northern Italian cities he attempted to rule. Barbarossa is "red beard" in Italian; they both feared and respected him. In German, he was known as Kaiser Rotbart which has the same meaning.

His final campaign was the triumphant Third Crusade, but he nearly perished en route. Fortunatlely, he took off his heavy armour suite before bathing in the Göksu River in Anatolia, a sensible precaution that enabled him to make it safely back to the river bank when a fast current very nearly swept him away.

His survival was a good omen for the King's Crusade, a prestigious joint military adventure planned with his fellow monarchs Richard the Lionheart and King Philip-II of France. Due to the personal commitment of the three monarchs, his premature death would surely have compromised the entire mission. Instead, the German and Hungarian Armies arrived intact in Acre where they linked up with the English and French forces that had travelled separately to Palestine.

The arrival of such an immense Crusader Army virtually guaranteed the capture of Jerusalem and the eventual defeat of Saladin. But unexpecedly, the expulsion of Islamic Forces from the near East would also enable the Italian City-States to maintain their trade with the Levant. Ironically, this counter-productive outcome would constrain the further development of the nation-states of north-western Europe.

In 1883, on this day inaugural President of the Confederate States of America Alexander H. Stephens died in Atlanta, Georgia. He was seventy-one years old.

Death 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 1950, on this day three-term Confederate Governor James Richard ("Rick") Perry was born to ranchers Joseph Ray Perry and the former Amelia June Holt in the unincorporated community of Paint Creek in north central Texas. With an ancestry that was almost entirely Anglo dating back to the original thirteen colonies, his family had lived in the region even before the Civil War.

Rick v RickAfter graduating with a degree in Agriculture from Texas A&M University, his political connections and leadership abilities gained him a place on the Future Leaders of America programme. But fate intervened when he was selected as CSA observer on Operation Eagle Talon; his outlook was profoundly transformed by the tangled mass of helicopters that he witnessed on that day in the Iranian desert.

After his return to Texas, he campaigned for the executive position of Secretary of Agriculture, before running for office as Lieutenant Governor and then Governor. At the age of sixty, he decided to undertake one more mission for his country, challenging Rick Santorum for the Confederate Presidency. He lost, but the fiery debate issues would resonate for the remaining of his third-term. The hot button issue was the offer from Union President Gingrich to collaboratively build a separation barrier. But Santorum, a second-generation immigrant unyoked from the Confederate past favoured the bold open border proposal from Mexican President Mitt Romney. This indication prompted Perry to upgrade his "Don't Mess with Texas" warning to an outright threat of secession.
This article is part of the "Two Americas" thread.

In 1825, at a critical juncture when secessionism was slowly gaining momentum in the United States, the office of Vice President was assumed by John Caldwell Calhoun, a leading advocate of states' rights, limited government, nullification and free trade.

Cast-Iron Man
The Accidental Presidency of John C. Calhoun
Although he was a vigorous man who liked to exercise, the incoming President John Quincey Adams was suffering from symptons associated with the advanced stages of atherosclerosis.

Only months after the inauguration, he suffered a paralytic stroke. He recovered the full use of his body and returned to the White House the following year. But he collapsed on the floor of the Oval Office from another stroke. He was carried to the Executive Residence, where two days later he died.

This tragic demise forced the Presidency into the hands of perhaps the foremost states' right advocate of the day. Nicknamed the "cast-iron man" for his ideological rigidity as well as for his determination to defend the causes he believed in, Calhoun supported states' rights and nullification, under which states could declare null and void federal laws which they viewed unconstitutional. He was an outspoken proponent of the institution of slavery, which he defended as a "positive good" rather than as a "necessary evil".
This post is a variant ending to the article Calhoun Captured by Eric Lipps.

In 1950, on this day James Richard ("Rick") Perry was born to ranchers Joseph Ray Perry and the former Amelia June Holt in the unincorporated community of Paint Creek in north central Texas.

Don't Mess With Texas, Part 2With an ancestry that was almost entirely Anglo dating back to the original thirteen colonies, his family had lived in the region even before the outbreak of the Revolution that created the Republic of Texas. His father, a Democrat, was a long-time Haskell County commissioner and school board member. His interest in politics began in November 1961 when his father took him to the funeral of Texan President Sam Rayburn.

Perry was in the Boy Scouts and earned the rank of Eagle Scout (he would later by honoured with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award). He graduated from Paint Creek High School in 1968 and then attended Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, was elected senior class social secretary, and was also elected as one of A&M's five yell leaders (a popular Texas A&M tradition analogous to male cheerleaders). Perry graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in animal science.

His political connections and leadership abilities landed him with a place on future leaders of America. This elite development programme was conceived by Five-star Confederate General Dwight David ("Ike") Eisenhower in order to correct the dreadful shortcomings of the un-coordinated American commands that he had suffered from during World War Two. Assigned to the US Air Force, Perry served with distinction, rising to the acting rank of Captain in the Tactical Airlift Squadron.

Conceivably, these acts of continental patriotism might even have led to the awakening sense of transnational identity that was the unstated goal of FLoA. Perhaps he could have returned to Texas as an evangelist for a compelling vision of America's manifest destiny. But then fate intervened when he was selected as an observer on Operation Eagle Talon. His outlook was pushed sharply in the opposite direction, profoundly transformed by the tangled mass of helicopters that he witnessed in the Iranian desert.

The powerlessness of the Federal Government was deeply imprinted into the psyche of a political generation that never shared Union President Edward M. Kennedy's Dream that Never Dies. But thirty years of steady growth in the Union combined with an increasing non-Anglo population began to break down the mindset of resistance to re-unification. And Perry himself was elected President of Texas in 2000 at a time when the Revolution itself appeared to be unravelling fast. Powerless to stem the flow of immigration and drugs across the Rio Grande, he was sharply criticised by Union President Pat Buchanan in the famous Day of Reckoning speech that predicted the unchecked rise of Mexicana. Ejected from office by the angry voters, his moderate successor Kay Bailey Hutchison used the costly financing of the construction of the San Diego-Brownsville separation barrier as a justification for re-unification.

On the day that John Cornyn tabled the motion of retrocession, Perry re-emerged as the spokesman of the Dont Mess with Texas opposition. A small protest that began in the Capital City of Austin siezed the headlines of the Richmond-based newspaper CSA Today and soon developed into a wider issue that would engulf the continent. Positioning Perry as a future leader of America in a way that no one could ever have possibly imagined.
This post is an article from the Reunification 80 thread created by Gerry Shannon.

In 1776, just one day out of port, an American merchant ship bound for France was stopped by a British frigate in a chance sighting. The naval captain decided to conduct a search for contraband, unstamped goods, or, as a possibility, treasonous materials put forth by the growing American Rebellion.

Silas Deane Arrested for Treason During the search, officers came upon a series of letters in the care of Silas Deane, a merchant from Connecticut masquerading as a trader from the Bahamas, which endorsed him as a representative of the Continental Congress to France. Further reading and interrogation proved that Deane was meant to garner French and European support in the form of arms, supplies, cash, and even soldiers. Deane was taken aboard the frigate, and the merchant ship was sent on its way, told not to return to America and give word of Deane's capture.

Silas Deane, born December 24, 1737, had been a proponent of the American movement from nearly its beginning. He had come from a wealthy farming family and made a name for himself after graduating from Yale through practicing law and teaching. Further, he married the widow Mehitable Webb, gaining from her a family of six, a mansion, and a thriving merchant business. Elected as a representative to the Continental Congress, Deane was instrumental along with John Adams of Massachusetts in establishing the significance of an American Navy (some of which would be built at his father-in-law's shipyard). Deane himself would donate a great deal to the cause, helping to finance the men who would seize a great victory at Ticonderoga. While on the secret Committee of Correspondence, Deane would be chosen to go to France on an undercover diplomatic mission to gain international support from what had been an enemy at war only a decade before.

Notice of Deane's capture did not come to the Continental Congress until nearly two months after the fact. In the meantime, the Americans had been enjoying a good deal of victories such as a raid on the Bahamas by marines and the British evacuation of Boston. The growth of support was enough to push through the Declaration of Independence as a reaction to Britain's declaration of a blockade, legally a wartime action. However, it would be some time before the Americans could put together another secret mission to France, eventually sending Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin and, later, John Adams. Without an initial framework, the Americans asked too much and would ultimately be turned away with little more than a pittance and a few nobles-turned-mercenary.

Meanwhile, the tide of war turned against the Americans. In the south, Cherokee encouraged by the British attacked in an arc all along the frontier. Battles in the north under Washington and Arnold were repeated defeats. In constant retreat, the soldiers took winter camp in 1777 at Valley Forge, where Washington struggled to train with almost no money or equipment. Without a successful gamble as he had taken with the surprise attack on the Hessian soldiers, Washington lost the majority of his troops. By 1778, the war had gone off the battlefield and to smaller struggles primarily in the south and frontier. British troops suppressed rebellion fully in 1779, and, in 1780, former general Benedict Arnold assisted in the proceedings to clear misguided rebels from the true instigators. Men like Thomas Paine and Samuel Adams were hanged while others such as Washington, Adams, and Jefferson were stripped of property and shipped to new colonies in Australia.

Silas Deane would similarly be punished by sharp fines, long stints in prison, and a new life of hard labor in South Africa. His second wife, Elizabeth, had died in 1777, but his fortunes would grow again as he remarried and became an effective administrator with his loyalties proven. He would never see his native America again.

The colonies would return to British loyalties, gradually looking to Redcoats as protectors from Indian attacks and alliance rather than their imperialist enemies. Other revolts would take place in the course of the nineteenth century, each ushering in new schemes of private rights and systems of government, similar to revolts that would be fought what would become the Dominion of Canada. Still, the Great Experiment of republicanism proved a failure, and the ideals of rule without a king would be held only by mad anarchists or communists, who would ultimately create autocratic dictators rather than constitutional royals who would act as an anchor in a world changing at an increasing speed.

In 1867, on this day in Richmond, Virginia, Robert E. Lee officially began his term of office as the second Vice President of the Confederate States.

Robert E. Lee
2nd Confederate Vice President
March 4, 1867 - October 12, 1870
Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 - October 12, 1870) was a career United States Army officer, a combat engineer, and among the most celebrated generals in American history. He served as the second vice president of the Confederate States of America, dying in office on October 12, 1870. One of the very few generals in modern military history to ever be offered the highest command of two opposing armies, Lee was the son of Major General Henry Lee III "Light Horse Harry" (1756-1818), Governor of Virginia, and his second wife, Anne Hill Carter (1773-1829).

A new article from the "Two Americas" thread on Althistory WikiaA top graduate of West Point, Lee distinguished himself as an exceptional soldier in the U.S. Army for thirty-two years. He is best known for commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War.

In early 1861, President Abraham Lincoln invited Lee to take command of the entire Union Army. Lee declined because his home state of Virginia was seceding from the Union, despite Lee's wishes. When Virginia seceded from the Union in April 1861, Lee chose to follow his home state. Lee's eventual role in the newly established Confederacy was to serve as a senior military adviser to President Jefferson Davis. Lee's first field command for the Confederate States came in June 1862 when he took command of the Confederate forces in the East (which Lee himself renamed the "Army of Northern Virginia").

Lee's greatest victories were the Seven Days Battles, the Second Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Fredericksburg, the Battle of Chancellorsville, and the Battle of Cold Harbor but both of his campaigns to invade the North ended in failure. Barely escaping defeat at the Battle of Antietam in 1862, Lee was forced to return to the South. In early July 1863, Lee was decisively defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. However, due to ineffectual pursuit by the commander of Union forces, Major General George Meade, Lee escaped again to Virginia.

From that point on, Lee would not lead an invasion force into the United States. For the next three years he would command his forces to vehemently defend all of Virginia and points south of the line extending from its southern border to California. The border states of Kentucky and Missouri, claimed by the Confederacy, but with occupying forces, became the main battlefield in the latter half of the war. As a result, it was from the western front that US General William T. Sherman was called in the spring of 1865 to begin his assault on the southern heartland. Though US General Grant had sent his best men into Virginia in 1864, he had been repelled time and time again. In December of 1863, Lee had begun training slaves to fight the invading armies, with battalions from Virginia and North Carolina on the field in April of 1864. These brave soldiers, fighting for the freedom of their homeland as well as themselves and their families, were pivotal in the eventual decision to call for a ceasefire. The ceasefire was declared on August 8, 1866.

After the ceasefire, outgoing vice president Alexander Stephens became the assumed successor of Jefferson Davis. With the fighting over, Stephens drafted Lee into political service as his running mate. The Stephens-Lee ticket proved unbeatable, leading to a post-war team that set the course for recovery that would result in the Confederate States surpassing the United States as an international military power

In 1861, Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States of America.

President DouglasDouglas had won in a turbulent four-way election, defeating Republican Abraham Lincoln, Kentucky Sen. John C. Breckinridge of he breakaway Southern Democratic Party, and John Bell of the newly-organized Constitutional Union Party.

His victory was due in large part to his success in calming Southern fears regarding the abolition of slavery, which had led several states to draft resolutions of secession from the Union and others to consider doing so if the Republicans, the party most strongly associated with the anti-slavery cause, won.

Douglas had supported the 1857 Dred Scott decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the constitutionality of fugitive slave laws and stated that the Framers had never intended that blacks should become U.S. citizens. However, he had argued that it could not be effective in a state or territory whose citizens refused to pass laws enforcing it. This attempt at a compromise had angered some Southerners, prompting the schism of the Democratic Party, while failing to satisfy opponents of the decision. As president, Douglas would try to bridge the ideological divide, appointing to key positions members of all four of the parties which had contended in 1860; the result, however, would be not harmony but gridlock. The slavery issue would continue to fester throughout the 1860s, with Southerners continuing to threaten secession if the federal government acts to interfere with their "right of property upon Negro slaves".

In 1949, on this day the General Secretary of the Australian Communist Party, de facto Head of State Laurence Louis Sharkey (pictured) delivered a major foreign policy speech that was thoroughly condemned by Western political leaders.O Tempora, O Mores Part 1 - A Warm Welcome
"If Soviet Forces in pursuit of aggressors entered Australia, Australian workers would welcome them. Australian workers would welcome Soviet Forces pursuing aggressors as the workers welcomed them throughout Europe when the Red troops liberated the people from the power of the Nazis. I support the statement made by the French Communist leader Maurice Thorez. Invasion of Australia by forces of the Soviet Union seems very remote and hypothetical to me. I believe the Soviet Union will go to war only if she is attacked, and if she is attacked I cannot see Australia being invaded by Soviet troops. The job of Communists is to struggle to prevent war and to educate the mass of people against the idea of war. The Communist Party also wants to bring the working class to power, but if fascists in Australia use force to prevent the workers gaining that power, Communists will advise the workers to meet force with force"
Later that year, Sharkey gave instructions to the Malayan Communist Party to conduct insurgency against their British colonial masters.

In 2008, Ms. Hillary Clinton began a remarkable turn-around in her electoral fortunes that would eventually force Barak Obama`s dignified concession on June 4th. Clinton`s Historic Victory repurposed content from Sheldon Alberts
The final two primaries marked the end of a five-month Democratic campaign that began with Mr. Obama's upset win over Ms. Clinton in snowbound Iowa on Jan. 3.While the two Democratic senators fought to a near draw in the race for pledged delegates awarded through primary and caucus elections, Mr. Obama had actually led the race since winning 11 contests in a row in February.
Ms. Clinton made a strong comeback, beginning with a string of victories on March 4 in Texas and Ohio, highlighting Mr. Obama's electoral weakness among Democratic women, seniors and lower-income whites.
Finishing strong, and winning the narrowest of victories, Ms. Clinton was able to persuade Democratic superdelegates of her argument they should overturn Mr. Obama's victory in pledged delegates. The split vote required both candidates to work together on the general election, and ultimately there could be only one senior partner in their relationship. The Clintons had not loss an election since 1980, and now launched a viscious assault on John McCain.

In 1759, Brigadier General James Wolfe wrote a letter to Major General Jeffrey Amherst in which he said ~

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

On 23 January, 1758 James Wolfe was appointed as a brigadier general, and sent with Major General Jeffrey Amherst to lay siege to Fortress of Louisbourg in New France (located in present-day Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia). Wolfe's distinguished himself in preparations for the assault, the initial landing and in the aggressive advance of siege batteries. The French capitulated in June of that year.

As Wolfe had comported himself admirably at Louisbourg, William Pitt the Elder chose him to lead the British assault on Quebec City the following year, with the rank of major general. The British army laid siege to the city for three months. During that time, Wolfe issued a written document, known as Wolfe's Manifesto, to the French-Canadian (Quebecois) civilians, as a part of his strategy of psychological intimidation. In March 1759, prior to arriving at Quebec Wolfe wrote these cruel words to Amherst. When these threats were carried out, Wolfe grew the evil reputation he has in North America today, far, far worse than another Brigadier General, Benedict Arnold whose turncoat was but a trifle by comparison.

Yet his reputation in Great Britain was untarnished by these atrocities, "Who, at the Expence of his Life, purchas'd immortal Honour for his Country, and planted,with his own Hand, the British Laurel, in the inhospitable Wilds of North America, By the Reduction of Quebec, Septr. 13th. 1759".

On, this day in 2014 the premiere of Jerry Bruckheimer's feature film adaptation of his hit TV series CSI was rescheduled from its originally planned opening of Memorial Day weekend to June 2nd to capitalize on the buzz being generated by the upcoming CSI: New York series finale.

 - Jerry Bruckenheimer
Jerry Bruckenheimer

In 1949, the Security Council of United Nations recommended membership for Palestine following the withdrawal of British forces two years before.

Zionists led by David Ben-Gurion gained world attention for the plight of the Jewish settlers in the State. However Anglo-America had decided to respect Arab Unity in order to keep the Soviet Union out of the Middle East and reneged on the 1917 Balfour Declaration which promised the State of Israel.

In 2004, the crew of the Huygens, the exploratory vessel sent to Titan using Martian spaceflight technology, begin to report back that a strange smell is leaking into the ship's air supply. A few hours later, communications with the ship are lost.
In 1954, Comrade John Foster Dulles warned that 'international capitalism' was making inroads into the Western Hemisphere, and that there was 'not a single country in this hemisphere that has not been penetrated by the apparatus of international capitalism acting under orders from the European monarchies.' This further heightened the paranoid atmosphere of anti-capitalist 50's.
In 1952, Mikhail von Heflin and Velma Porter dock in Marseilles, France. Now that they are in Europe, von Heflin feels more comfortable, and books them passage on a train to Germany. His former homeland is now under Communist control, but he thinks he can get the two of them back to Heflin.
In 1945, folk singer Jimmie Louise Tims was born in Huntsville, Texas. She started singing around the campus of Sam Houston State University in her home town, and was heard by Arlo Guthrie when he traveled through Texas in 1961. He took her on tour with him, and her covers of classic backwoods tunes made a splash in the folk scene.
In 1611, Conquerors of the Speaker's Line place George Abbot into England's Primacy as the Archbishop of Canterbury. Abbott stealthily lays the groundwork for another member of the Line to overthrow the entire monarchy in the decades to come.
On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President. In his inaugural address, he argued that the Constitution was a more perfect union than the earlier Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, that it was a binding contract, and called any secession 'legally void'. He stated he had no intent to invade Southern states, nor did he intend to end slavery where it existed, nor would he use force to maintain possession of federal property. His speech closed with a plea for restoration of the bonds of union. The South sent delegations to Washington and offered to pay for the federal properties and enter into a peace treaty with the United States. Lincoln entered negotiations with Confederate agents although he insisted (somewhat weakly) that the Confederacy was not a legitimate government, and that making any treaty with it would be tantamount to recognition of it as a sovereign government. However, Secretary of State William Seward engaged in authorized and direct negotiations that succeeded and the widely predicted 'War of the States' was narrowly avoided.

In 1980, Marxist leader Robert Mugabe won a sweeping election victory to become Zimbabwe's first black prime minister.

Expectations were high, and a number of promises need to be fulfilled and quickly. First and foremost, Mugabe had sworn he would publicly hang Ian Smith in the capital city of Salisbury.

 - Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
In 1933, the Parliament of Austria was suspended because of a quibble over procedure. Chancellor Adolf Schicklegruber initiated authoritarian rule by decree

In 1942, as Japanese forces tightened their grip on the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur was ordered by President Roosevelt to relocate to Melbourne, Australia, after Quezon had already left.

With his wife, four-year-old son, and a select group of advisers and subordinate military commanders, MacArthur left the Philippines on PT 41 commanded by Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley, and successfully evaded an intense Japanese search for him.

McArthur - Return?

War Plan Orange (commonly known as Plan Orange or just Orange) was invoked. Predating the Rainbow plans, which presumed allies, Orange was predicated on the U.S. fighting Japan alone. It anticipated a withholding of supplies from the Philippines and other U.S. outposts in the Western Pacific (they were expected to hold out on their own), while the Pacific Fleet marshaled its strength at bases in California, and guarded against attacks on the Panama Canal.

After mobilization (the ships maintained only half of their crews in peacetime), the fleet sailed to the Western Pacific to relieve American forces in Guam and the Philippines. Afterwards, the fleet sailed due north for a decisive battle against the Imperial Japanese Navy, and then blockade the Japanese home islands.

The Imperial Japanese Navy developed a counter-plan to allow the Pacific Fleet to sail across the Pacific while using submarines and carrier attacks to weaken it. The Japanese fleet attempt to force a battle against the U.S. in a 'decisive battle area', near Japan, after inflicting such attrition. This is in keeping with the theory of Alfred Thayer Mahan, a doctrine to which every major navy subscribed before World War II, in which wars would be decided by engagements between opposing surface fleets[1] (as they had been for over 300 years). It was the basis for Japan's demand for a 70% ratio (10:10:7) at the Washington Naval Conference, which would give Japan superiority in the 'decisive battle area', and the U.S.'s insistence on a 60% ratio, as 70% superiority was believed to be necessary for a successful attack.

Disasterously the American war planners failed to appreciate that technological advances in submarines and naval aviation had made Mahan's doctrine obsolete. In particular, the American planners did not understand that aircraft could sink battleships, nor that Japan might put the U.S. battleship force (the Battle Line) out of action at a stroke.

American plans changed after the failure of War Plan Orange. Even after major Japanese defeats like Midway, the U.S. fleet favored a methodical 'island-hopping' advance, never going far beyond land-based air cover.

Moreover, by their obsession with 'decisive battle', the Imperial Japanese Navy would ignore the vital role of antisubmarine warfare. Germany and the U.S. would demonstrate the need for this with their submarine campaigns against Allied and Japanese merchant shipping respectively. The American campaign ultimately choked Japan's industrial production. Japan also notably failed to institute an anti-commerce campaign themselves.

In 1975, satire legend Charlie Chaplin became Sir Charles after a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Chaplin is most famous for scripting the Great Dictator, a biting satire of US President Charles Lindbergh.

Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin - Great Dictator
Great Dictator

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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.