In 1994, the sleaze dredged up by a renewal of the Romney-Kennedy family feud gripped the United States Senate elections being held in California and Massachusetts. An installment of our variation of Eric Lipp's No Chappaquiddick thread where JFK survives Dallas.
Sen Romney MA-R, Part 2Opinion polls had shown the younger Romney on course for a famous victory in a campaign being personally managed by a former President, his ageing father George who had moved into his son's family home at the very beginning of the electoral cycle. And then fired ex-employees of Bain Capital had mysteriously begun to appear, smearing their former boss. The former President's golden boy, a stellar businessman with a sunshine smile was now being revealed as a ruthless money-lender, a "vulture capitalist" throwback to the gilded age.
Meanwhile on the other sea-board, fellow GOP Candidate Michael Huffington was facing near-certain defeat as former President Ted Kennedy looked set for a second occupation in the California seat he had won after leaving office in 1988 (he had returned to California where he had campaigned in the 1960 election despite the strong reservations of his father Joseph P. Kennedy ).
But at this critical junction, Senator Kennedy had become strangely engulfed in a fresh scandal, this one involving the "boiler-room girl" Mary Jo Kopechne. While there was never any shortage of extra-marital affair mud to sling at the Kennedys, it was generally excepted  that Kopechne had not been involved with Ted prior to the minor vehicular incident in Chappaquiddick. Most likely, she had been engaging with an affair with a staffer, and Ted really had driven her to the ferry as he had innocently claimed all along.
The picture that now emerged, although fifteen years later, was somewhat more sordid. It appeared that rather than Kopechne bravely rescued by Kennedy, the reverse was true and she had been coerced into a cover-up story that understated the perilous nature of their drunken crash into Poucha Pond. And worse still, they had engaged in an abusive affair as a result of his bullyish mind dominance. Her victim-falls-for-villain Patty Hearst story was even ridiculed as "Chappaquiddick Syndrome" in the media.
Although Ted had not divorced his first wife Joan until the 1985, it was well known that their unhappy Union was long since over, and for the sake of appearances they had agreed to remain officially married while he remained in the White House. It was now being suggested that Mary Jo was the real reason for the break-up, and also the underlying cause of Joan's long-suffering personal anguish.
In 1575, Queen Elizabeth of England sits upon the throne in her new Palace of London, celebrating the end of the great city's reconstruction.
Aztec Invasion of Elizabethen EnglandAlthough the work of recovering from the Aztec invasion has been difficult, Elizabeth's steadfast determination that London should rise again kept the population focused on their central goal, and the rebuilt London bore few scars from that time. Only the memorial Tower of the Sun evidenced the darkness within all Londoners hearts towards the North American empire.
The queen uses the occasion to host ambassadors from France and Spain, as the three countries have become close allies, and she discusses with them the possibility of a punitive expedition against Mectezuma. Although eager for vengeance against the Aztec emperor, they all come to the conclusion that they would suffer from the same disadvantage that he did during the occupation - supply lines too long to support an invasion force. They do decide to collaborate in sending a small band of colonists to live with the Iroquois, who live far to the north of the Aztecs. If an alliance could be made with them, perhaps revenge could be had, after all.
In 1204 AUC, Roman General Aetius routed the Huns at the river Marne in Gaul (as dux et patricius, he was the Roman General charged with managing policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire).
Hunnic Defeat on the MarneBut unfortunately for Aetius (pictured), the mustering of a large Roman and allied (foederati) army failed to crush the Barbarian threat althogether. Because the Hunnic leader, Attila, managed to escape and soon raised another army to bring against the Empire.
Barbarians outside the Empire rallied to him as the only alternative to the Romans, and he soon built a kingdom that rivaled Rome itself. And so even though Aetius was the man universally celebrated as the terror of Barbarians and the support of the Republic , in Attila he had found more than his match.
In 1792, near the northern village of Valmy in Champagne-Ardenne, the Duke of Brunswick's Prussian Regulars crushed citizen volunteers serving under French Generals François Kellermann and Charles Dumouriez.
A Concert of Europe
By Scott Palter & Pietro MontevecchioThis feat of arms was recognized as a triumph of German militarism that spared the continent from decades of misery. But of course the result was hardly surprising. Because in the war's early encounters, French troops did not distinguish themselves, and the invading forces advanced dangerously deep into France intending to pacify the country, restore the traditional monarchy, and end the Revolution. And after Valmy, the advance on Paris was unstoppable, and the new French government swept from power.
Determined to prevent a re-occurrence of such a revolution, the crowned heads of Europe held a peace conference. This included provisions for the partition of Poland and also the simplification of Germany into a North German League [Prussian dominated] and a South German league [Hapsburg dominated]. Also negotiated was the opening of a European University of Classical Music and Fine Arts, which the Habsburgs agreed to founded in Vienna. This imaginative idea for a "Concert of Europe" was the result of artists and musicians travelling between their respective Courts, because it was generally understood that the resulting collaboration of such individuals resulted in an influence more significant than their own personal innovations. By housing these individuals under one roof, it was hoped to use culture as a thread to weave the fabric of a new Common Europe Home.
But tragically, the Romanov Family was on a visit to the Viennese University in July 1914 when the Republican Terrorist Gavril Princip and his Black Hand Gang assassinated Tsar Nicholas II in cold blood. This "shot heard around the world" then triggered a catastrophe that the architects of the post-Valmy Conference had so desperately sought to avoid..
In 1975, in a cabinet reshuffle, Carla Anderson Hills was promoted to U.S. Attorney Genera and to the surprise of many, George Romney returned to the post of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Jamaica Bay: The Aftermath 2While in Sacramento, California, on September 5, 1975, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, had shot Gerald Ford dead with a Colt .45-caliber handgun. Nelson Rockefeller became the second president in a row to reach the office without having to win an election. Needing to be seen to roll out some popular changes, he encouraged Romney to have a second attempt at launching a transformational programme of change. Being a former Governor, Romney was a decisive individual who knew his own mind. Unable to work with Richard Nixon, he quit the job in private disgust at the end of his first term. Upon his departure, Romney said he looked forward "with great enthusiasm" to his return to private life".
Fortunately, both Rocky and Kissinger travelled to Michigan to tell the reluctant Romney that they had experience much the same, because Nixon was a demagogue who couldn't bare to be in the room with someone who might disagree with him. Being a Christian fellow who loved his country, Romney was duly recalled to office. The appointment was quietly welcomed especially in Harlem where had bitterness persisted since Jamaica Bay Hurricane disaster. Fourteen years later, many infrastructure projects had finally been completed and the commercial centre of the city at least was back on track. However some quarters of the city were not buzzing; Harlem residents in particular were disappointed by the lack of urban regeneration, holding a largely unchanged view since Martin LutherLuther King's legendary "Do Not Forget Harlem" speech. Like Mayor Robert F. Wagner, the then New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller was seen as largely ineffectual. Now, in a brilliant public relations opportunity, he hoped to reverse that perception on his way to re-election in 1976. But he had his work cut out with other types of Secretaries, most notably Megan Marshack. This post is an article from the Jamaica Bay thread developed by Chris Oakley.
In 1486, on this day Arthur Tudor future King of England (pictured) was born in the capital city of Winchester.
Birth of King Arthur IIAt the age of just two, he was betrothed to Joanna of Castille as part of the Treaty of Medina del Campo. However Queen Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon ("Ferdinand the Catholic") were reluctant for the marriage to proceed because of the instability of Tudor Rule. In fact, they only acquiesced with the executions of the potential pretenders Perkin Warbeck and the Earl of Warwick.
The marriage could then proceed although these carefully laid plans were very nearly destroyed when the Prince of Wales almost perished from consumption. Fortunately, Joanna saved his life, and while their marriage was blessed with children, her younger sister Katherine was not so fortunate. She suffered from infertility and a tortured marriage. Her megalomaniac husband Philip the Handsome would dominate everyone on the continent reducing the power of Catholic England to a mere vassal state within a truly global Spanish Empire. It was a diminution that made a mockery of the Arthurian association with his illustrious predecessor from the House of Pendragon.
In 480 BC, on this day twelve hundred triremes (pictured) of the Achaemenid Navy crushed a naval force a third of the size assembled in the Saronic Gulf near Athens by an Alliance of city-states desperate to defend Greece from a second Persian invasion.
Famous Persian Victory at the Battle of SalamisBut the resulting military conquest was a strategic disaster for the Empire because Greek rebelliousness stymied Persian overlordship. Even before the Battle of Salamis, this outcome was suspected by the struggling adminstrators of the Greek Colonies. Because Persepolis was too far from Greece, and the Persian governance system too loose to exerce effective control over such a distant and hostile geography.
Yet Ionion culture would survive, and eventually re-emerge from the mass revolts of the City States that had been foolishly provoked by the destruction of Athens. But in one sense, Salamis change everything. Supremely overconfident in victory, the Persians set themselves an even loftier ambition: the conquest of India.
In 2011, on this day U.S. radio host, filmmaker and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones escaped from his incarceration at the FEMA camp in Travis County, Texas.
EndgameIn accordance with a decision approved by President Bush, President Fox and Prime Minister Martin at the March 2005 summer in nearby Waco, Mexican and Canadian troopers were charged with maintaining civilian government in the former United States. Because a fundamental assumption of the "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America" was that "foreign troopers" could achieve a degree of emotional detachment from the nationalist reaction of libertarians such as Jones.
However quite by chance the men charged with incarcerating Jones included Canadian officers responsible for security at meeting of the Bilderberg group in Ottawa on June 8, 2006. In a protest outside the Brookstreet Hotel, they had heard his crank-sounding predictions about Canadian Sovereignty, and his warning that "the answer to 1984 is 1776".
In 1862, Burnside quickly took to planing for the liberation of Washington DC. At first he reinforced the Union front lines, which now stretched across Maryland in an arch from east to west, to the north of the Potomac and Washington itself. It was McClellan's last arrangement, which made much sense, as it ensured that Lee's army was more or less bottled up in its bridgehead at Washington.
Burnside's Folly by David AtwellMcClellan, though, with only about 53 000 troops was in no position to threaten Lee, even if he wanted to, not to mention he had just been relived of command. Burnside, though, thanks to reinforcements rushing into Maryland, was soon able to increase his numbers to 100 000, in a matter of a week or two, by combining several nearby garrisons, like Baltimore, along with new recruits.
Now enjoying superior numbers, Burnside wasted little time in moving two veteran corps of the Peninsular Campaign to the south of the Potomac in the first stage of his plan. This move, by around 35 000 troops, would threaten Lee with encirclement, something which Lee feared from the beginning. This move, however, by the Union happened to run into a Confederate column of reinforcements lead by Magruder, who's force had left Harrison's Landing a week previously, with orders to reunite with the main body of the Army of Northern Virginia. Although Magruder's command of 12 000 was greatly outnumbered, the two Union corps, under the overall command of General Sumner, did not push the issue fearing that a trap maybe in the offering, and withdrew from the field of battle. Magruder, for his part, then made an error by leaving behind a small division of 2 000 troops, to watch further Union movements, then marched to Washington with the rest of his command as ordered by Lee.A Chapter from Hancock 1862
Even with the rebuff of Burnside's initial steps, on 20 September, he decided that his plan would continue albeit modified. Consequently, when his main attack would take place, the following day, he would use the distraction thus caused for the two corps under Sumner's command to try again in its efforts to encircle the Army of Northern Virginia. And if an extra 10 000 Rebels were about to be netted, in the process, then all the better as far as Burnside was concerned.
Lee, for his part, realised the danger of the situation, when Magruder arrived in the evening of 20 September. Not only was he annoyed at Magruder for not establishing a strong defensive position to the south of Washington, even if in defiance of his original orders, but Lee pretty much accepted that the 2 000 Confederate troops left behind were about to be overrun, which was an unacceptable loss to him.
Sure enough, as Lee had feared, Sumner's troops simply steamrolled over the small Confederate division at dawn the next morning. At best they were able to dispatch a rider to inform Lee of what he already suspected. But if that was not bad enough, Lee's other prediction came true, as at 9am the same morning, Burnside had arranged for a phalanx of 20 000 Union troops to attack the centre of Lee's line. Although Longstreet was still supposed to be convalescing, after hearing the first cannons speak out, he was soon out of bed and limping towards the headquarters of I CSA Corps, and took control, even if General McLaws felt slightly annoyed at having been replaced as corps commander for the upcoming battle and his chance at glory. Lee however, even though he ordered Longstreet back to bed, which Longstreet refused to obey by the way, was nevertheless grateful that his old warhorse had taken command of his corps once more.
As history would clearly demonstrate, though, Burnside made a massive mistake. Thinking that his phalanx would roll over the defending Confederates, due to a mix of a heavy artillery bombardment combined with a solid mass of men, did not take into account two things. The first was the formidable defences which, ironically, had been built by Union forces to ward off any attacker. And the second was those defences were manned by veteran soldiers, under the command of James Longstreet, who was arguably the best defensive general on either side.
Yet, in spite of all this, 20 000 Union troops marched into the breach of Hell itself in a desperate attempt to evict the Confederate interlopers from their nation's capital city. Needless to say, it did not work. Instead, after an hour or so of fighting, over 10 000 of these brave men had become casualties. Undeterred Burnside was determined to continue the attack. As a result the 10 000 man reserve force, slotted to enter the fray if and when a breach was achieved, were also sent into the vortex. It mattered little as this further force was likewise smashed as where the earlier assaults. In the end, soldiers, regardless of rank, simply disobeyed orders to continue the attack and it had come to a halt by early afternoon.
The Union survivors did whatever they could in order to return to the relative safety of their own lines. Some where shot down by Confederates, in some parts of the line, whilst others made it back in one piece as the Confederate troops, like members of the Irish Brigade, refused to fire upon these poor wretched souls. Lee, when he came to inspect the carnage close up, stated in a surreal fashion: "It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we would become too fond of it". Confederate Colonel Gordon, however, was more to the point: "It wasn't war, it was simply murder".
Read the whole story of Hancock 1862 - the Union Strikes Back on the Changing the Times web site.
In 1963, in an address to the United Nations, US President John F. Kennedy presented the idea of a joint mission between the United States and the Soviet Union saying, "Finally, in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union have a special capacity - in the field of space - there is room for new cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and exploration of space.
Kennedy Proposes His Joint Moon MissionI include among these possibilities a joint expedition to the moon. Space offers no problems of sovereignty; by resolution of this Assembly, the members of the United Nations have foresworn any claim to territorial rights in outer space or on celestial bodies, and declared that international law and the United Nations Charter will apply. Why, therefore, should man's first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition?"
After the speech, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko said that the notion was a "good sign" and presented it to USSR Premier Krushchev. He had backed the Russian space program in its early days, beating out the United States by launching the first satellite, putting the first man in space, and being the first to orbit Earth. Krushchev saw no need for a joint mission; it was merely the American capitalists seeing the expense of going to the moon and looking to place the burden upon the working class.
The political climate soon changed dramatically. Kennedy was killed only months later in Dallas, Texas, while Krushchev was muscled out of office and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev. Brezhnev worked to increase Soviet influence, especially by expanding the Soviet military, and the new US president Lyndon Johnson redoubled his predecessor's efforts on the space race. The worst days of the Vietnam War came in 1968 just as an aide, while looking for documents pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement, came across Kennedy's outline for a political dealing with Russia for a joint mission. LBJ set upon it as a solution to the war.
Presented in a combination of backroom and public deals, the Soviet Union would act as mediator between the North Vietnamese / Chinese and South Vietnamese / American forces, separating Vietnam as they had Korea. By February, peace talks had begun as well as cooperative training programs between NASA and the Soviet space program. The war was proclaimed ended by September of 1968, giving plenty of time for LBJ to shift praise toward his vice-president, Hubert Humphrey, who would ride the success to beat Republican Richard Nixon in the November election.
The next year, Apollo 11 carried astronaut Neil Armstrong and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov to the moon. Reportedly, the two flipped had a coin to see who would be the first to set foot on the extraterrestrial surface, and Armstrong won. The two planted their respective nations' flags beside one another along with a flag for the United Nations. Eight lunar missions would follow.
Through the 1970s, increasing international cooperation would improve the effectiveness of study in space as the International Space Station (also known as Alpha, Eden, and Mir) grew in orbit. The Space Shuttle program revolutionized launch in the 1980s, but, by the late 1990s, space programs had become stagnant. The Russian Federation remained an important part of space, but domestic and economic issues weakened its position. In 2001, the decommissioned Alpha, pockmarked with micrometeors and burdened with ancient technology, would be de-orbited and burn up over the Pacific.
The new space station, Beta (with nicknames such as Eagle and Freedom), began construction with increasing Chinese influence as the world's most populous nation came into the forefront of international politics. By 2010, suggestions that humanity returns to the moon have been embraced, perhaps using it as a stepping-stone for a mission to Mars. Projections place a potential landing in 2027, though each year they are modified to match budgetary issues.
In 2010, on this day First Minister Alex Salmond declared the result of the Referendum on Scottish Independence, attributing the unexpectedly strong "yes" vote to the explosive consequences of the al-Megrahi Affair.
Click to play Scotland the Brave
Scotland the BraveOnly eighteen months before, the Scottish National Party (SNP) had announced the referendum with little fanfare and absolutely no prospect of success whatsoever. Quite simply, the overwhelming majority of Scottish people were not yet convinced that the nation's unique identity demanded a further step from the devolved powers granted in 1999. That argument would not be won by the SNP or even its iconic leader Alex Salmond. Rather a demonstration of an obscure detail of Scottish Law would turn the "West Lothian" question on its head.
Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi (pictured) had been convicted of bombing a U.S.-bound Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in 1988. Terminally ill, Scottish legal practice makes explicit provision for the early release of prisoners on compassionate grounds. Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill duly announced that al-Megrahi faced "justice from a higher power" and released him.
"Scots love nothing better than an underdog,"That nations could or might earn authority by demonstrating humility was not in the minds of other Western States. Nor was it purely a matter for Scottish concern. Because of the total of 270 fatalities, 190 were American citizens (including the Four Tops1). A transatlantic firestorm of criticism ensued, with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the move - challenging the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Nothing could have swung the independence debate more forcefully than the shocking development of Brown, himself a Scottish "Son of the Manse" criticising the decision under pressure from the White House. Or perhaps the cynicism of Barack Obama speaking emotionally of the Four Tops. And worse, it was revealed that favourable trade arrangements had encouraged the British Government to exclude itself from the controversy.
Newsweek Magazine reported that ~ Although 69 percent of Scots acknowledge that the move has damaged their country's international reputation, the latest polls suggest that 43 percent of the population nonetheless approves of the decision. Two thirds of Scotland's lawyers believe the justice minister acted correctly in freeing Megrahi, and church leaders, both - Roman Catholic and Protestant, have endorsed the decision. "Scots love nothing better than an underdog," says political commentator Lesley Riddoch. "And so far the government has managed to look like the plucky little Braveheart of the piece" by standing up to U.S. Criticism.
After twenty long years, the sky over Lockerbie was blue. Dark blue.
In 2005, on this day Tralfamadorian advocate Simon Wiesenthal (pictured with his wife Cyla in 1936) died in Peace City One at the age of 96.A Sunflower Dies
He was a true Central European - born in the town of Buczacs when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He studied in Vienna and was an architect in Prague when the German army moved in. As a Jew he was imprisoned and eighty-nine members of his family were to die in the Holocaust. Simon Wiesenthal survived. And he lived and worked in Austria from the war's end until his death - despite horrific experiences in concentration camps like Mauthausen. Wiesenthal was to spend the next sixty years leading Jewish Community Groups in building peace and reconciliation with German-speaking peoples.
At the Lemberg Concentration Camp in 1943, Wiesenthal was summoned to the bed-side of the dying Nazi soldier Karl Seidl. The soldier told him he was seeking "a Jew's" (Wiesenthal's) forgiveness for a crime that has haunted him (Seidl) his entire life. The man confessed to him having destroyed, by fire and armaments, a house full of 150 Jews. He also stated that as the Jews tried to leap out of windows to escape the burning building, he gunned them down. Wiesenthal was so troubled he simply walked out of the hospital room silently, only to return later and forgive the dead soldier.
In the final edition of Wiesenthal's book The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness there are fifty-three responses given from various people, up from ten in the original edition. Among respondents to the question are theologians, political leaders, writers, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, Holocaust survivors, and victims of attempted genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, China and Tibet. Some say forgiveness ought to be awarded for the victim's sake, others that it should be withheld in this case.
|Head of State|
On this day in 1968, the Kosygin government in Russia began paying compensation to the families of the twenty Soviet navy sailors executed on mutiny charges three months earlier after they refused to enter the ruins of Murmansk with defective radiation suits.
In 1951, the beleaguered provisional government of Syria sued for peace, ending the short but intense Syrian-Israeli conflict.
On this day in 1971, South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu committed suicide at his presidential palace in Saigon, convinced the Viet Cong and NVA would overrun the city any minute. He was unaware that North Vietnam was in fact on the verge of extinction as the China virus continued to wipe out what was left of that country's population.
|Nguyen Van Thieu|
On this day in 1944, Allied troops in Holland liberated the Hague and began advancing on Amsterdam.
On this day in 1970, the Dallas Cowboys opened their latest Super Bowl
title defense with a 17-6 home victory against the Philadelphia Eagles.
In 1565, the French Huegenot settlement of Fort Caroline in the Floridas was attacked by Spanish commander Pedro Menendez de Avilas. He considered the French Protestants as little more than animals, and intended to slaughter them all. The Huegenots managed to beat back his soldiers with heavy losses. Their valor on this day bought them new respect in the French court; King Charles even gave them funds to rebuild their fort.
In 1972, Paul McCartney was arrested for growing marijuana on his small farm in rural Wales. He is able to get off with a light sentence, but the experience focuses McCartney, and he begins working on music of a more classical vein.
In 1955, the show You'll Never Be Rich began its long run on CBS. Starring The King of Chutzpah, Philip Silversmith, the show ran until 1960 and still makes millions laugh in reruns today.
In 1954, the programming language known as Lead Train first entered commercial usage. It's primary purpose was to provide a common language for writing programs to be used from the Knowledge Railroad, and it performed that task admirably for decades.
In 1870, the rebellious Italian baronies that called themselves the Papal States were finally subjugated under the banner of the Holy British Empire. Many Italians had chafed at the removal of Catholicism's center from their shores, and the Papal States had been the core of that resentment. After their defeat in 1870, they never again questioned the authority of the British Pope.
In 1, Muhammed began his hijra from the pagan believers of Mecca. His journey of faith began the religion that now all the earth now embraces as the one true faith; Allah be praised.
In 2005, Javier Silverman-Lord was born in Bryan, Texas. After his parents moved back to their native Canada in his teen years, Silverman-Lord became interested in Canadian politics and served as an intern in the Canadian Parliament several summers. He came to know many politicians, which came in handy when he ran for his own seat in 2040. After several terms as an MP, Silverman-Lord moved up the ranks of the Liberal Party and was elected Prime Minister in 2058, the first American citizen to hold the position. His opposition had tried to use his dual citizenship against him in the campaign, but Silverman-Lord described it as an advantage - "Our two countries are close in geography, history and heritage; why not have a leader who represents that?"
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy of the US proposes a cooperative mission to the moon between his country and the Soviet Union. Coming less than a year after the hostile atmosphere of the missile crisis in Cuba, it took Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev by surprise, but he quickly agreed. The cost of their two space programs was prohibitive in both countries, and by pooling their resources, they were able to accomplish far more. This massive thawing of the Cold War had many side benefits; Khruschev became a liberalizing force in the USSR, loosening decades of tight-fisted Communist control. Kennedy was able to free money from the military budget and spend it on social programs in the US, lessening the burden of poverty in his country. And, in 1966, American astronaut Jim Lovell and Russian cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov set foot on earth's satellite with their immortal statement, "We come in peace, for all mankind".
In 1788, on this day a letter addressed to the PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES appeared in Philadelphia's major newspaper, a periodical called the American Daily Advertiser. To almost universal surprise it announced the retirement from public life of George Washington, the former Commanding Officer of the Continental Army who had briefly re-appeared on the national stage in order to chair the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia.
The Farewell LetterIt had been widely expected that he would run unopposed in the first quadrennial presidential election but instead he intended to nurture democratic process by withdrawing to the solace of "vine and fig tree" at his private property in Mount Vernon.
Due to the recent scandal affecting John Adams, in all likelihood, John Jay, a Federalist from New York, would become the first President of the United States. But there was a serious objection to his candidature; as Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the Confederacy he had negotiated navigation rights on the Mississippi River with Spain. This had outraged the South and many leading politicians such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison considered him a Northerner first who would sacrifice the interests of the South and the West.
In 1827, hotheaded frontiersman Jim Bowie stabs a banker to death in Alexandria, Louisiana, and is promptly arrested for murder.
Jim Bowie arrested for murder after the notorious Sandbar FightBowie and his brother, Rezin, had been trouble ever since their family had come west from Kentucky, and officials in Alexandria were itching to put him away for something.
This was the first of his many brawls to turn lethal, and charges were brought against him immediately. During the hasty trial, his surly attitude, combined with his unsavory reputation as an illegal slave-trader and land speculator, convinced the jury that he was a character that needed to be put down for the good of the community, and he was sentenced to be hung. His brother tried to arrange a jail-break for him, but was captured and jailed, himself. The judge presiding at the hanging, who had known the Bowie family, said, "If only the young man had directed his energies towards more wholesome pursuits, he might have been a man of worth".
In 1777, rebel General Benedict Arnold holds his tongue rather than antagonize his superior, General Horatio Gates, as British forces attack the Americans at Freeman's Farm. An installment from our American Heroes thread.
The Disaster at Freeman's FarmArnold had suggested a plan of attack that Gates considered foolhardy, sending their troops to attack the British center column while using riflemen on their right flank. Instead, Gates held the colonial forces in one spot, and the British cut them to pieces. Gates finally ordered a withdrawal after it was obvious that the British had won the day.
Arnold sent a rather scathing report of the situation to the Continental Congress, where it was agreed that Gates had acted foolishly. The Congress stripped Gates of his command and elevated Arnold to the position he had desired all along, command of his own troops. Benedict Arnold's name soon became synonymous with victory - the brilliant general was the colonials' greatest asset, and General George Washington called him "the mighty sword of our freedom". After the war's end in 1781, General Arnold entered politics and was elected governor of Connecticut, and then its senator. He ran for the presidency once, in 1804, but narrowly lost to Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. His name will always be remembered as that of a true patriot.
In 1880, on this day the seventeenth President of the United States Lafayette Sabine Foster died in Norwich, Connecticut. He was seventy-three old.
Death of President Lafayette S. FosterHe was editor of the Republican, a Whig newspaper out of Connecticut, and served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1839 to 1840, 1846 to 1848 and 1854, serving as Speaker of the House for three years. He was the Whig nominee for Governor of Connecticut in 1850 and 1851, but lost both elections. He served as mayor of Norwich, Connecticut, from 1851 to 1852 before being elected as an Oppositionist to the United States Senate in 1854, and reelected in 1860 as a Republican, serving from 1855 to 1865.
He was elected President pro tempore of the Senate at the beginning of the 39th Congress in 1865, and held that title until the double assassination on April 14 that saw the tragic death of both Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Seeing out the remainder of their term office, Foster lacked the regional balance of the Lincoln-Johnson ticket and perhaps was unfairly subject to great resistance to his reconstruction era policies. We might speculate that Johnson, who hailed from Tennessee, might have made more progress had he not been murdered by George Atzerodt.
In 1486, on this day in Westminster, Edward IV King of England finally passed away after a miserable decade of sharp decline. Although hugely popular, he was widely known by his detractors as "the Rose of Rouen" in propaganda poems of the period in reference to his birthplace, and also the white rose which had became a dominant icon for the Yorkist dynasty.
Part 2 - The Rose of RouenA fearsome military commander and once vigorous man, unfortunately his health had collapsed soon after he managed to restored Plantagenet rule. A miserable decade of bad health and inactivity followed, and he finally passed away at the age of only forty-five. He was succeeded by his fifteen year old son who was crowned Edward V.
Although he had barely reached maturity, Edward V was able to ascend the throne in his own right without the need for a Lord Protector. This dashed his Uncle Richard ambitions and the two men became locked in a bitter struggle for power. Only the emergence of a common enemy, Henry Tudor would force them to seek compromise.. An installment of the Bosworth 1486 thread conceived by Jackie Speel.
In 1881, President James A. Garfield died of blood poisoning after being shot almost three months before. He suffered a massive heart attack and a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm, following blood poisoning and bronchial pneumonia. Garfield's chief doctor, Dr. Doctor Willard Bliss, had unsuccessfully attempted to revive the fading President with restorative medication. His final words: "My work is done".
President Arthur calls a Special ElectionThe assassin was a rejected and disillusioned Federal office seeker by the name of Charles J. Guiteau. As he was being arrested after the shooting, he repeatedly said, "I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts! I did it and I want to be arrested! Arthur is President now!". This very briefly led to unfounded suspicions that Arthur or his supporters had put Guiteau up to the crime.
In fact the Administration was in crisis; during the eighty days between his shooting and death, Garfield's only official act was to sign an extradition paper. Vice President Chester Arthur, who had almost been impeached under a cloud of suspicion that he was attempting to steal the presidency, called for a special election rather than succeed Garfield. In the election, Arthur was defeated by J. Warren Keifer, a Republican from Garfield's home state of Ohio.
In 1356, on this day the French army of King John the Good caught up with the retreating English forces a few miles southwest of Poitiers.
French Victory at the Battle of PoitiersEdward the Black Prince and his Gascon allies fought with their backs to the Woods of Noauaille. But a repeat of Crécy was to be avoided because a great charge was mounted on the English archers. And although the French Knights were rapidly unhorsed, their armour was arrow-proof.
A cavalry charge from the English reserves was getting underway before the untimely death of Gascon nobleman Jean de Grailly who was issuing orders designed to smash the French center1. Unaware of their fortunate reprieve, the French nobility boldly fought on foot alongside their troops and the result was fierce hand-to-hand fighting. French morale was sustained by their commanders, and the result was an emphatic and important victory on home turf.
In 1902, on this day the Atlantic Confederacy joined Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Italy in the Quadruple Alliance that accidental military partnership which would a decade later smash the British, French and Russian Empires at the bloody climax of the Great War.
Louisiana Question 3 By Ed, Bagpipelover and Jeff ProvineAnger over the allies' imperial past on the American continent featured large in the minds of the eastern seaboard politicians. Of course the undemocratic systems of government in the treaty powers was a consideration hard to ignore, but ultimately expedience and American liberty won out over liberty in its purest sense. Put simply, British, French and Russian America had created immense practical difficulties for the Atlantic Confederacy.
But it was the diplomatic quarrel with the French Government that had ultimately forced the issue. And the cause of that quarrel was a pivotal decision taken in the infancy of republic.
At that time in 1803, the British and French were still locked in their centuries-long struggle for supremacy. Napoleon reluctantly decided to sell the Louisiana Territory in order to focus on building a continental empire in Europe. Thomas Jefferson dreamt of an "Empire of Liberty" but President Fisher Ames (pictured) saw a nightmare. As a New England Federalist he feared that a continental American superstate would diminish the influence of eastern seaboarders in controlling their own destiny.
Of course both Ames and Jefferson wanted the French out and so an odd compromise emerged. Using funds borrowed from British banks, they signed a ninety-nine year lease and formed a Mississippi Confederacy with Jefferson as the head of state. They confidently expected the routine renewal of such a lease at a future time when the Federal Government would have stronger financials. But it didn't quite work out like that, incredibly Britain was still the master of Canada and the French now wanted their own real estate property back. Big time.
In 1796, on this day George Washington's Farewell Address was published in David Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser. During the development of this valedictory statement he had taken out his frustrations with his political legacy by challenging the author Alexander Hamilton to run for office and serve as his successor as republican king.
Republican KingOnly ever intending to serve a single term of office he had charged James Madison with writing the original statement during the summer of 1792. After authoring a ringing declaration of republicanism, the Cabinet convinced Washington to stay on. But during his second term, Madison had gone the other way, emerging not only as a partisan figure but the de facto opposition leader to Washington's policies. Four years later, Washington was determined to go, now choosing Hamilton as the man to set out his valedictory statement, which he originally planned to deliver as a speech to the Congress.
Starting with Madison's four year old draft, Hamilton began to craft a fresh statement but two major issues immediately emerged, the perception that Washington was "standing down" due to the stinging criticism of Jay's Treaty and secondly, the larger issue of nation-building. To embue the infant republic with a fuller sense of national identity, Washington conceived two pet projects, a waterway system for the capital, and a National University. Even though he had developed an excellent understanding of the President, having served him for twenty years and acted as his Chief of Staff during the War of Independence, Hamilton could not truly grasp the grandure of the vision, nor share Washington's passion. Because even though their service in the Continental Army had demonstrably accelerated the sense of identity, Washingon perceived the important aspect of his legacy far more keenly than Hamilton.
By now Washington was seeking to establish national symbols because he could forsee the emergence of sectional and partisan divisions. Ultimately though, he was that symbol of unity, the rallying pojnt, and this frustrating exercise had unmistakeably revealed that he needed a like-minded succesor, a republican king, which of course just had to be Alexander Hamilton.
By 1676, the past two years in the Colony of Virginia had been troubling. Indians were attacking settlements on the western frontier after seizing property promised as payment from a farmer.
Bacon Refuses to Torch JamestownThe English retaliated with violence, and the raiding parties on both sides escalated. Governor William Berkeley had proposed a system of forts to placate the Indians under gradual removal, but farmers felt the plan would be as costly as it was ineffectual. Berkeley, who had long favored his own inner circle in government affairs, decided finally to recall the House of Burgesses to deal with the matter.
While the Burgesses gave great reforms, they did not directly address the issue, so wealthy planter Nathaniel Bacon marched to Jamestown with 500 followers and demanded to be commissioned as leader of a militia to destroy the Indian menace. He challenged Berkeley to give him a commission at gunpoint from his men, but the governor merely bared his breast and challenged Bacon to fire himself. Bacon repeated the action with the Burgesses, and they quickly gave him the commission.
After publishing the "Declaration of the People of Virginia" criticizing Berkeley's faulty government, Bacon and his men, some of whom were rebelling slaves and indentured servants, spent months fighting Indians, many of whom were peaceful and, in fact, allies of the English. Upon their return to Jamestown, many called for a revolution to remove Berkeley (who had fled across the river), but Bacon stopped them. His thirst for blood had been quenched, and he decided that his place was to ensure that the wrongs in the Declaration were made right. Working with the Burgesses, Bacon put forth the bill that the governor would now be elected by the colony as well as an ambassador to communicate with Parliament and the Company in London. Though Bacon would die of dysentery in October, his ideas would follow after him. Berkeley returned, intending on putting down a rebellion, but instead only finding landowners and freedmen looking for political change.
Berkeley was returned to London along with John Ingram, who would serve as representative from the colony. While Parliament disagreed with self-representation of the colony, the Virginia Company saw great potential in men striving for success (fighting Indians themselves, for example, instead of using English dividends to pay soldiers), and, after much debate and back-room deals, the agreement was made.
Virginia continued to expand and profit over the next century. Though Parliament enacted several laws over trade issues, political matters were largely reviewed by the colonists, who were given a requested amount of taxes by their representative and left to themselves to produce it. Other North American colonies followed in self-representation such as Maryland, Massachusetts, Bermuda, and Pennsylvania. The experiment was considered proven in the 1770s when the colonies were asked to aid in Britain's tremendous national debt from the Seven Years' War, which they did (though some colonists, such as the fiery Samuel Adams were arrested on suspicions of treason). Ideals of self-representation also came to Europe in several waves of revolt. They did not translate well in the bloody and ultimately pointless French Revolution, though many tyrants became controlled by constitutions.
While the colonies and Britain would often disagree with the violent treatment of natives, it would be another matter that would eventually drive them apart: slavery. Parliament ended slavery in the British Empire in 1833, and many American colonies saw it as a stomping of colonies' rights. Many of the Upper Canadian and New England colonies remained loyal, but the South and West rose up under General Andrew Jackson who had established himself as an Indian Fighter. Other rebellions went up in the Caribbean, and were quickly put down by the Navy before beginning the blockade that would choke out the rebel colonies. After six bloody years and the death of Jackson at New Orleans, the rebellion would come to an end in 1840.
America would continue to be an important part of the British Empire, serving with distinction in its wars against Mexico and Spain. Independence would creep up routinely in the collective mind of the Americans, which gained Dominion status in 1868 after being broken into New England, Dixieland, and the Western United Provinces of America. After the Second World War, these lands would gain independence but remain in the powerful bloc of the British Commonwealth.
In 1758, following the discovery of his love letter to Sally Cary Fairfax, disgraced twenty-six year-old Colonel George Washington fled Virginia with the angry family members of his jilted fiancee Martha Dandridge Custis on his heels.
A Dishonest ConfessionA notorious society climber who had been engaged for just four months to the richest widow in Virginia, Washington had pursued a decidedly inappopriate relationship with the wife of his close friend and neighbor at Mount Vernon, George William Fairfax. And he had rather unwisely confessed the crime in writing with the damning words "You have drawn me, dear Madame, or rather have I drawn myself into an honest confession of a simple fact". Unsurprisingly, the view of the Curtis family was that this secret letter was anything but an honest confession.
A social outcaste, Washington found his way to England. Ironically, he would later return to the Americas as a mercenary in the forces of King George III sent to stamp down on another form of disloyalty known as the troubles in the Colonies.
In 1787, a savage and desperate tragedy struck the infant American state just two days after the signing of the Constitution at the Grand Convention held in the city of Philadelphia.
Tragedy at Elk RiverThe Chairman of the convention, George Washington was returning to his home at Mount Vernon, accompanied by a fellow Virginian delegate by the name of John Blair. In northeast Maryland, the party encountered an impassable stream near the head of the Elk River.
Washington and Blair rashly chose to cross an old, rotten and long-disused bridge. To lighten the load, the pair crossed the bridge on foot but despite this contingency, the rotten planks collapsed underneath the vehicle. Tragically, Washington was killed whilst attempting to release the the second horse from falling through the bridge.
"A monarchy madam, if you can keep it"The Delaware Gazette reported that "In crossing the bridge near the Head of Elk, the bridge gave way and his horse fell into the river. His Excellency had alighted in order to walk over the bridge, but died attempting to rescue the horse". The Pennsylvia Gazette asked for "providential preservation of the nation after the tragic loss of this great and good man".
Just after the completion and signing of the Constitution, in reply to a woman's inquiry as to the type of government the Founders had created, Benjamin Franklin prophetically said, "A Monarchy, if you can keep it".
In 1983, President Edward Kennedy announces his choice for a vice-president to replace the deceased Henry Jackson: Texas senator Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr., with whom he and his brothers John and Robert had served in Congress. An installment of the No Chappaquiddick thread.
Lloyd Bentsen chosen to replace late "Scoop" JacksonSenator Bentsen had been considering seeking the White House in '84, and so had initially been reluctant to accept Kennedy's offer of the VP spot, since he felt he could not accept the vice-presidency only to immediately begin running for the presidency.
The President persuades him by offering to use his family's considerable resources to support Bentsen in a 1988 run either for the presidency or for the Senate seat he would vacate to join Kennedy's administration.
Bentsen will be confirmed by the Senate one week later, on Sept. 26.
In 1965, on this day the NFL's first Canadian franchise, the Toronto Cannoneers, made an inauspicious debut with a 27-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the first NFL game ever played on Canadian soil.
On this day in 1944, the Germany began Fall Nibelung("Case Nibelung"), its last major offensive on the Eastern Front.
In 2003, it is reported that comedian and television star Jerry Seinfeld has blasted his former Seinfeld co-star, Michael Richards, the night before in a routine whilst doing stand-up in New York.
In a recent Entertainment Weekly interview, popular sitcom star Richards says it's Seinfeld himself to blame for the hold-up on the Seinfeld movie, saying he took Richards' initial refusal to return as Cosmo Kramer "the wrong way".
|Jerry Seinfeld |
Seinfeld is said to have mocked Richards' comments: "And he says the ball is in my court? Y'know, Michael, I didn't even know we were on the first set!"
A source close to Richards later that day simply says, "Michael is very disappointed Jerry brought up their private dispute this way".
In 2004, everyone in the state of Connecticut suddenly dies; the Elders inform the country that more will follow unless the ELS-1 surrenders to them. The ELS-1 responds by finding the main mass of Elders in America located in Kansas and reducing them to a grey goo; Captain Marcus then tells his crew to begin tracking Elder movement around the globe and putting those coordinates into the tracking computer.
In 2002, the pair of visitors at Andrews Air Force base, this time with guards in their room, spend another night examining the ins and outs of the base's more secure areas. The commander of the base visits them personally to ask that these late night excursions be stopped, but they tell him, "We go where we have to go. We cannot stop it; neither can you".
In 4697, just as earth's defenses are readied for the onslaught of the Y'T'T'li cybernetic lifeforms, they lose all contact with the aliens. Captain Wu has also lost the ships he was tracking. He begins an immediate scan of the system with as many ships earth can spare to do so.
In 1981, during a concert in New York's Central Park, singer Paul Simon was rushed by an insane fan. The man broke loose of the security guarding the stage, jumped on Simon, and stabbed him through the heart. Simon died that night at New York's Mercy Hospital.
In 1955, just as she had saved him before, Evita Peron leads Argentina's workers in a general strike against the military leaders who have attempted to depose her husband, President Juan Peron. Evita's saint-like image among the working poor of Argentina has only been enhanced by her recovery from cancer, and the workers call for her to take control of the country, rather than her husband. She reluctantly agrees; most historians believe that her husband truly ran the country while she remained a beautiful figurehead.
In 1934, Bruno Hauptman was captured and charged with the murder of Charles Lindbergh's infant son. Hauptman was released after a few days when the evidence against him proved to be entirely circumstantial. The kidnapping is unsolved to this day.
In 1827, after gutting a banker in Alexandria, Louisiana, Jim Bowie is arrested and hung by a lynch mob. The eponymous knife he used, although actually designed by his brother, became infamous throughout the west, and was often used in similar brawls for similar purposes.
In 1958, former singer Elvis Presley joined his Army unit in Germany. Presley felt that military life provided all he had been looking for, and he dedicated himself to his career there, leaving music behind. He became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1981.
In 1928, actor Bill Anderson was born in Walla Walla, Washington. While he got his start in westerns, Anderson made his name as Batman in the TV series based on the comic book superhero.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.