In 1718, on this day the most talented officer in the Royal Navy, Captain Edward Teach was lost off the coast of North Carolina.
Death of Captain Edward TeachBorn in Britain's second city in 1680, the 17th-century rise of Britain's American colonies and the rapid 18th-century expansion of the Atlantic slave trade had made Bristol an important international sea port. And naturally, he enrolled in his earliest teenage years.
He came to the attention of the Admiralty as a result of his daredevil exploits in the intense fighting of Queen Anne's War. And although he was considered unorthodox, he was finally rewarded with the Captaincy of the vessel HMS Queen Anne's Revenge, but tragically died during a storm at Teach's Cove.
In 1975, Otto von Habsburg was declared Head of State in accordance with the wishes of the late Francisco Franco.
Otto von Habsburg, King of SpainBecause in 1961, the Spanish dictator had offered to make him king of Spain after his own death. A branch of the Habsburg had ruled the country from 1506-1700 and so a valid (if some tenuous) claim existed based on historical precedent. However, Franco's concern was maintaining his own legacy by preventing the ascension of Juan Carlos.
But of course the Carlist and Alfonsian branches of the Royal Family both contested the succession which received only half hearted supported from the people of Spain. Within a very short space of time, it became clear that the country was heading for a disastrous second Civil War if von Habsburg could not safely navigate the nation towards a democratic safe haven.
In 1868, on this day John Nance Garner IV the 33rd President of the United States (better known as Cactus Jack) was born in Detroit, Red River County, Texas. The son of a former Confederate cavalry trooper, he was famously described by the British journalist Alistair Cook as the "last public man linking America of the Civil War and America of the nuclear age".
Texas Shooting Drama, ReduxBy profession he was a lawyer who then served as a state representative from 1898 to 1902, and U.S. Representative from 1903 to 1933. He was the 44th Speaker of the House in 1931-1933. In 1932, he was elected the 32nd Vice President of the United States. Fate played a cruel and when only one month before being sworn into office, Giuseppe Zangara fired five shots at President Roosevelt's motorcade. Four people were wounded and the President also mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak, were killed.
Fortunately Garner's unique understanding of American history enabled him to steer the nation through the Great Depression followed in short order by a second World War. With Germany defeated and Japan exhausted, nearing collapse, he was advised that the Manhattan Project had delivered a doomsday weapon that could end the war and save lives. But instead, he set the tone for the post-war era by ordering low flying American and British bombers to release thousands of white doves over the City of Tokyo.
In 1963, during the course of a New York taxi ride, Richard M. Nixon learns that his opponent in the Presidential Election John F. Kennedy has been assassinated. In an article for Readers Digest he recalled hailing a cab after his Dallas-New York flight: "We were waiting for a light to change when a man ran over from the street corner and said that the President had just been shot in Dallas" (however in a subsequent article for Esquire he later said that his cabbie "missed a turn somewhere and we were off the highway .. a woman came out of her house screaming and crying. I rolled down the cab window to ask what the matter was and when she saw my face she turned even paler. She told me that John Kennedy had just been shot in Dallas").
By Ed, Jacke Rose, Chris Oakley & Eric OppenHowever there would be no political comeback; he had already told the press that "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference". Because in order to establish commitment with doubtful Californian voters, he had pledged not to run for president in 1964 at the launch of his gubernatorial campaign. But even if he had not, he believed it would be difficult to defeat Kennedy, or after his assassination, Kennedy's successor Lyndon Johnson. And after his defeat at the hands of liberal Pat Brown, he had retreated into private life, recently becoming a senior partner in the leading New York law firm Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie & Alexander.
Instead, at the climax of the ugliest Convention in fifty years Republicans selected the conservative Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. And "because he drives Johnson nuts" his running mate would be an obscure Congressman from Western New York, William E. Miller. Of course none of these politicians were natural vote winners who could match Kennedy for charisma and vision. The only individual who could begin to match those attributes was the Mayor of New York City, John V. Lindsay (pictured). Of course by the time that he entered the White House in 1969, the scandals of the Kennedy-Johnson administration had tarnished the "Camelot" years. More damaging was the revelations about the true purpose of Nixon's visit to Dallas. He had met with Pepsi-Cola executives with big business interests in the sugar plantantions in Cuba. Due to Nixon's prominent role as a leading campaign organizer during his Presidential race, the full exposure of "the Bay of Pigs thing" created waves during Lindsay's first year in office.
This post is an article from the Jamaica Bay thread developed by Chris Oakley.
In 1963, the Presidential Emergency Succession Act was invoked for the first time when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas (the suspected assassin, ex-Marine turned Communist Lee Harvey Oswald, was himself gunned down in a movie theater while trying to elude police).
A Shock To The System Part 3Secret Service agents on the ground in the Dallas area at the time JFK was shot immediately whisked the First Lady and her family back to Washington while additional teams of agents were helicoptered in from Fort Worth to guard Kennedy's vice-president and successor Lyndon Johnson as he took the oath of office to become the 36th President of the United States; the new chief executive wasted no time ordering a full-scale investigation to determine how someone could have gotten close enough to shoot and kill Kennedy; within less than six weeks after taking office Johnson signed an executive order mandating tougher training for all future incoming Secret Service personnel.
By 1965 President Johnson had successfully lobbied Congress for a 50 percent increase in funding for all PESA-related operations by the Justice and Treasury Departments.
In 1963, absolutely no later than forty-five minutes after the Kennedy assassination, prime suspect Lee Harvey Oswald was quietly apprehended on East 10th Street in Oak Cliff by patrolman J. D. Tippit, a thirty-nine year old officer with the Dallas Police Department.
Poor Dump Cop #1 By E and Jackie SpeelWithin hours, he was charged by indictment with the murder of the President. However the Dallas Police struggled to reconstruct the timescale of events.
Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig stated that when he heard the news that Oswald had been arrested, he noted the time was 1:06 p.m. according to his watch. But according to his housekeeper Earlene Roberts, Oswald arrived at his rooming house, at 1026 North Beckley Avenue at 1.00pm, leaving 3 to 4 minutes later. Although Mrs Roberts testified that he was "walking pretty fast", the Police estimation of Oswald's walking speed demonstrated that one of the longer routes to the scene of the arrest took 17 minutes and 45 seconds.
Soon after his capture Oswald encountered reporters in a hallway, declaring "I didn't shoot anyone" and "They're taking me in because of the fact I lived in the Soviet Union. I'm just a patsy!". Matters were further complicated when Officer Tippit filed his report which stated that the man in the hallway was not the man that he had arrested, a testimony backed up by a witness, William W. Scoggins who was sitting in his taxicab nearby.
A World War 2 veteran of the US 17th Airborne Division, Tippit was earning a salary of $5,880 a year as a Dallas police officer and also working two other part-time jobs. But before the year was out he would be forced out of the Dallas Police by an FBI whispering campaign that he was a "Poor Dumb Cop". Yet it would be far more difficult to silence Oswald who was amassing a pile of unpleasantly awkward facts that he would openly shared on his day in court.
In 1963, on this day at 11.40am Central Standard Time senior members of the Texas Democratic Party greeted Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline as they stepped off a private jet at the Love Field Airport in Dallas.
Tragedy in Dallas By Ed & Scott PalterRefusing to be trapped in the shameful anonymity of that private hell reserved for failed Presidential candidates, Kennedy had carefully nurtured his profile and status as a national politician. And therefore he was more than pleased to assist the Texas Democratic Party when they appealed for his charismatic assistance. Accordingly, he would shore up support for the 1964 elections by leading this campaign swing through the cities of San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth.
Unknown to the Party, and despite his radiating youthful good looks and general well-being, Kennedy was a desperately sick man. A lifelong series of medical setbacks had been crowned by a recent back injury that required him to wear a corset. The whole trip would be a miserable discomfort in which he would constantly suffer acute pain.
Neverthless, Kennedy had done much more than make the most of his remaining active years, in fact he had built a travelling circus, roaming around the country like King Arthur, creating a mobile Camelot if you will. Inevitably, he had become a victim of his own success, not just a campaigning spearhead for the Democratice National Committee but a focal point of opposition to President Nixon. And when Nixon cancelled the Bays of Pigs operation and disbanded the exiles, Kennedy's radiance had drawn that angered reaction like a moth to a flame, and he unwittingly became their champion in the Senate. Elevated from pin-up boy to advocate, Kennedy was now a moving target. And the worse fears of his family were realised when a former marine, Lee Harvey Oswald shot him dead in Dallas for his anti-Castro stance.
Within eight years, the wheel would come full circle. Even before the 1964 re-election of Nixon, Castro was himself killed during an abortive coup attempt led by Che Guavera. Faced with a long multi-sided civil war the Organization of American states with help from the US Navy landed Latin american troops to restore peace and free elections. Long before then, Raoul Castro had quit the island, leading one hundred thousand followers into exile in East Germany. And Nixon would be succeeed by President Robert Kennedy who would embrace this new administration by making the strategic decision to unlock Cuban economic potential by returning their biggest port, Guatanemo Bay.
In 1934, on this day a border clash in Abyssinia raised the first significant challenge to the authority of world government since the League of Nations had been formed to co-ordinate a global response to the Spanish Flu Epidemic.
Walwal incidentIn this post-imperial era, the collapse of Colonial Power had created great dangers, and also opportunities outside of Europe.
A messianic figure had arisen in Ethiopia, Ras Tafari who had set about restablishing order in the former Italian Colony. But the megalomaniac crackpot Benito Mussolini and military officers of the defunct Kingdom of Italy declared a Fascist survivor state around the oasis of Welwel. And the fierce reaction of Ethiopian forces led to the first major conflict in over a decade.
In 1307, on this day the Knights Templar gain a new crusade. Since the fall of Jerusalem to Saladin in 1187, the Knights Templar had been in decline. They fought on through the crusades in the losing fight to keep Christian kings in the Holy Land.
Knights Templar Gain New Crusade Their monastic headquarters stood at Acre and cities in the north for a century, but Moslem troops forced them off the mainland to Cyprus. The stronghold there fell in 1302 to the Mamluks, and the Templars had lost their mission. What to do with the Templars stood as the question of the day.
"Pope Clement V, newly appointed in 1305, offered the suggestion of merging the Knights Templar with the Knights Hospitaller, who were forming up a monastic state in Rhodes as the Teutonic Knights had in Prussia. Both Grand Masters of the two orders ultimately rejected the idea, but, while the discussions were carried out in France, the pope also discussed charges of heresy and corruption that had been brought against the Knights Templar. While questionable, the allegations stood, and the pope sent a letter to the French king Philip IV to investigate. Philip, who was gravely indebted to the Knights Templar in the funding for his wars against England and Flanders, saw this as an opportunity to eliminate the would-be bankers.
On October 13, 1307, Philip gave the order to arrest dozens of top Templars, but Grand Master Jacques de Molay escaped secretly. Over the coming weeks, false confessions of idolatry and sinful rituals would be torn from the Templars under torture. Philip pressured Clement V to give an order that the rest of the Templars be arrested and convicted; with the Order gone, Philip's debts would be struck out. However, the network of Grand Master de Molay enabled the Templar to gain the attention of the pope. Even as Clement had moved the papacy to France, the Templars could protect him from Philip's military, and what the Order needed was a new goal. After much discussion, it was decided that the Order would purify itself and begin a quest to establish an alliance with the Mongols (believed to be descended from influence from the mythical eastern Christian king Prester John). Clement V, much to the chagrin of Philip, gave the papal bull entitled Nova Templarae on November 22. The renewed Templar Order would soon announce a new crusade.
In 1305, Oljeitu of the Ilkhanate in Persia had sent an embassy to Clement, Philip, and the English king Edward I to attempt a military alliance, but distractions in Europe had slowed plans. Now with the Templars freed by selling off their many monastic assets, including Philip's debt (which was purchased by Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII, giving a considerable boost to the political clout of the House of Luxembourg), the Templars began to piece together their Tenth Crusade. Consulting with the aged Crusader-historian Jean de Joinville as well as the famed merchant Marco Polo, whose book had described Prester John as the Mongol's foster father, the Templars set out exploring eastward on a northern route through the Black Sea and across Christian Armenia to begin contact.
By 1312, the Tenth Crusade had been launched. Simultaneous attacks from Ilkhanate Mongols in the northeast with Crusaders backed by mercenaries from the Caucasus in the northwest pushed Mamluks back into Egypt. Within a generation, the Holy Land was in the hands of the Crusaders once again, and the remainder of Egypt was now a vassal to the Mongols. In the 1340s, however, the Black Plague broke out through the Middle East and spilled into Europe. The plague was taken as a sign of punishment for drafting an alliance with unchristian fellows.
Breaking off relations with the east, Europe turned toward itself under the emboldened leadership of the Church, working to purge the ideas that past Crusaders had carried back with them and the dangerous readings of pagan science and literature from ancient Romans and Greeks. In the next century, a rebirth of allegiance to the Church would be conducted by Orders such as the Templars, still ruling out of Jerusalem until its fall to the Ottomans in 1467. Encouraged by trade and conquest, the Ottoman Empire launched its invasion of barbaric Italy in 1543 under Suleiman the Magnificent. Northern Europe would resist for centuries, holding back Muslim imperialism with renewed feudalism, despite the great militaristic might brought forward by Ottoman mastery of gunpowder and cannon.
In 1945, despite the Infamous Lava Man being too far gone for current re-animation technology to succeed, the alien scientists at the Secret Nazi Base in New Swabia, Antartica did manage to bring Adolf Hitler back to life although admittedly he was hopelessly insane.
Back to LifeAlthough in its infancy at the time, the technology advanced even further over the course of the next thirty-six years. Which was fortunate, because Ronald Wilson Reagan had unwisely ignored the advice of the Secret Service who urged him to reconsider his personal safety given the frequent number of recent assassination attempts on the President.
Inevitably, just sixty-nine days after taking office when he was once again in public view and thus the easiest of targets, Reagan was shot dead through the heart by John Hinckley, Jr. Waking up at the George Washington University Hospital surrounded by alien scientists, he joked "I hope you're all Republicans!". Increasingly unable to distinguish between the Soviet and alien threats, he later alluded to the event somewhat obiquely at the United Nations on 21st September 1987. Click to watch the alien threat speech
In sharp contract to the Gipper's effusiveness however, the Fuehrer's own ill-tempted gratitude was restricted to a brief pause in which he expressed his thanks (pictured) before his maniac attention turned to fixing up his crashed Haunebu-type Nazi saucer craft. During the repair process, sabotage soon emerged as the suspected cause of the "Repulsine" engine failure.
Despite their successful attempt to kill Hitler, the American saboteurs were rapidly reaching the Fuehrer's same conclusion that world war with the Soviet Union was a necessity if Western Civilization was to be saved from Bolshevism. And somewhat alarmingly, when Reagan began to mutter about the Soviet Union being an "evil empire", it was discovered that the alien scientists had made unauthorised use of Hitler's biological material as spare parts needed to effect the repair work.
In 1963, at the conclusion of a business trip to Dallas, ex-Vice President Richard M. Nixon was shot and killed as he prepared to board a private jet at Love Field Airport; his sharp-shooting assassin was former US Marine Lee Harvey Oswald.
Nixon shot in DallasAfter representing two American companies, Studebaker and Pepsi Cola he had unwisely agreed to meet with a cabal of right-wing businessmen who urged him to run for President. Judging that the incumbent President was unbeatable, he dismissed the offer of campaign funds even though it was suggested that Kennedy would not be running in 1964 after all.
Click to watch the scene from the movie Nixon (1995)
The unwelcome reminder of Nixon's unpredictability combined with his haughty attitude panicked the conspirators into cancelling the hit on Kennedy and silencing Nixon instead.
In 1963, on this day out-going Lyndon Baines Johnson, President of the Confederate States of America, (pictured, left) is assassinated in Dallas whilst travelling in a presidential limousine along a designated motorcade route.
Gerry Shannon's "Johnson Assassinated by Union Sympathizer"Johnson had been doing a tour of his home state to drum up support for the policies of his Democratic-Republican party; and unite it's warring factions within the Texas state. The shooting occurred at approximately 12:30PM in the Dealey Plaza area of downtown Dallas. A chief suspect soon emerges: Lee Harvey Oswald, a US sympathizer who had previously defected to the Union after receiving a dishonourable discharge from the Confederate Army. Oswald would later claim at his trial - and right up to his execution - he was being set-up as the perfect "patsy" for Johnson's murder, because of his outspoken beliefs on civil rights and affirmative action.
However, Oswald's argument would prove ironic with hindsight. Since being sworn in six years before, Johnson had pursued several progressive policies in relation to civil rights for African-Americans during his administration. It would be his Vice-President and successor, John Connolly, who would succeed in convincing the Confederate Congress at Richmond to pass a historic Civil Rights bill in 1964.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy, along with his wife, Jacqueline, complete a successful visit of the city of Dallas, continuing Kennedy's tour of the southern States in the run-up to his re-election campaign in 1964. Incident Along Motorcade Route by Gerry Shannon
Speaking later that day before the Dallas Trade Mart, Kennedy would draw attention to America's future role in both economic and world affairs:
"Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed.
But now we have the military, the scientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation and promotion of freedom".
Meanwhile, in a bizarre sidebar to the Kennedy visit, Dallas police officials are alerted to an apparent suicide by a male employee at the Texas School Book Depository - which occured moments after Kennedy's motorcade left Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas for the Trade Mart. (When asked by a reporter later, Kennedy admitted he thought he heard " what sounded like a firecracker" when heading to the Trade Mart, before then expressing his condolences to the man's family).
The body was quickly identified of that of Lee Oswald, a former Marine, who recently defected to Russia and had returned to the States. Oswald had sought employment at the Depository, after being recommended there by a friend.
Speaking to Hugh Aynesworth of The Dallas Morning News, Depository manager Roy Truly, clearly shaken, said: "He [Oswald] seemed to be the only one not interested in the President's motorcade... I thought he seemed more distant then usual. That was Lee, he tended to keep to himself. But you sure as hell don't expect him to then go blow his head off".
Dallas police officials said Oswald apparently shot himself through the head with a 6.5 mm caliber Carcano rifle, Oswald's ownership of which they were still trying to determine.
It is thought Oswald's suicide came about after a recent dispute with his estranged Russian wife, Marina. In what is seen by many as a result of the goodwill of the President's visit, donations to the widow and her two children pour in all over the city of Dallas; most notably from a local club owner (who wished to remain anonymous) who donates the weekend profits of his club, The Carousel.
In 1963, on this evening ex-marine Lee Harvey Oswald (pictured) is commended by the Secret Service for his bravery and quick-thinking during an attempt on the life of President John F. Kennedy along the route of his motorcade in Dallas, Texas.
Hero Oswald by Gerry ShannonWhen the president's motorcade pulled into Dealey Plaza, Oswald, watching from the sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository, noticed a gathering of suspicious-looking individuals behind the grassy knoll near the bridge overpass.
Oswald managed to race down the Depositry's elevator and ran out onto the street in front of the policemen and the motorcade, alterting them to the oncoming danger. Not long after, frantic shots rang out from the knoll, however, Kennedy and his wife were already pushed to the floor of the car by Secret Service members and unharmed.
While Oswald was initally arrested on suspicion of involvement in the assasination plot, he was soon let go while the knoll shooters were found in the moments after the gunshots rang out. Oswald would later personally recieve the Congressional Gold Medal by Kennedy himself.
However, to this day, conspiracy theories persist Oswald had some knowledge of the plot to murder Kennedy, due to his alleged communist ties and his one-time defection to Russia. Conspiracy author Jim Marrs would say in his book, Attempted Crossfire, "... it's entirely possible that Oswald, who friends say always wanted to be somebody, joined the conspirators with the full intention to use his knowledge of their plot to make it look like he was saving Kennedy. "
In 2000, at 3am in the morning an ambulance arrived at Dick Cheney's home in McLean, Virginia; the Republican Vice Presidential nominee (pictured) was suffering from acute chest pains and was rushed to George Washington University for emergency heart treatment.Cheney's Last Stonewall
The following afternoon, George W. Bush would issue a press release from his Crawford, Texas Ranch in which the Republican Presidential nominee announced that nothing was seriously wrong with his running mate's health - Cheney had not suffered his fourth heart attack.
As the chad and vote counting continued in Florida, it would shortly afterwards emerge that not only had Cheney suffered a heart attack, he had tragically died during the course of an angioplasty, a preventative medical procedure in which a small balloon-tipped wire is inserted into a clogged heart artery to open it.
The following morning, Bill Safire wrote in his New York Times column ~ "Throughout the campaign, Cheney has ducked detailed questions about his heart disease. His blood pressure and daily medications were not revealed. We now know that our toleration of his brush-offs was a mistake".
The time for brush-offs and stonewalling very much over, a scandal quickly ensued, in which a number of previously undisclosed secrets emerged about the Republican candidacy.
- Unambigious evidence of draft-dodging throughout the 1960s
- Multiple Driving Whilst Intoxication (DWI) Police Charges
- Sharp business practices particularly Halliburtons $34bn asbestos exposure and Texas Ranger's illegal tax breaks
- Dirty political tactics during the primary campaign against John McCain.
Inside of three weeks, the United States Supreme Court would decide the Bush v. Gore
case. The winner of a popular majority, if not necessarily the electoral college, the sitting Vice President would receive the unexpected support of a wave of national anger threatening to engulf the Bush II Presidency even before W took office.
On this day in 1963, Dallas nightclub owner Jacob Rubenstein (a.k.a. Jack Ruby), an ardent admirer of the late John F. Kennedy, committed suicide by jumping to his death from the sixth floor of a school book depository in Dealey Plaza. Rubenstein had been psychologically shattered by the news of Kennedy's death the previous day; the Dallas police officer who found Rubenstein's body, J.D. Tippit, would later receive a commendation for his work in the Rubenstein suicide investigation and would eventually become head of the Dallas Police Department homicide squad before retiring in 1986 after a distinguished 34-year career in law enforcement.
On this day in 1973, the Cowboys suffered their third loss of the 1973 season, getting beaten by the Miami Dolphins 14-6; however, the team would get some good news the next day as Roger Staubach was cleared to return to action.
In 1963, while visiting Dallas, Texas, President Richard M. Nixon is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, a political extremist opposed to the U.S. occupation of Cuba which followed the Bay of Pigs landings in April 1961.
Vice-President Henry Cabot Lodge will be sworn in as the thirty-sixth President of the United States aboard Air Force One as President Nixon's body is conveyed back to Washington, D.C.
|Henry Cabot Lodge|
On this day in 1970, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins at RFK Stadium to improve their 1970 NFL record to 10-0.
In 1963, a pair of Russian spacecraft dock successfully in a test of a maneuver necessary to the planned Soviet manned mission to the moon.
In the U.S., the Soviet space achievement is overshadowed by tragedy as President John F. Kennedy is assassinated during a visit to Dallas, Texas.
|John F. Kennedy|
On this day in 1963, ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald walked into the Dallas County Jail and made a shocking confession to sheriff's deputies: For months he had been planning to assassinate President John F. Kennedy, but at the last moment a disembodied voice had talked him out of it saying Fate had greater plans for him.
|Lee Harvey Oswald|
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas, while on a political swing through the South intended to repair his image in that part of the country.
Within two hours the Dallas police have arrested a suspect, an unremarkable-looking man named Lee Harvey Oswald. To the surprise of many, Oswald turns out not to be a right-wing zealot bent on punishing Kennedy for using federal troops in the 'Southern Crisis' of October 1962.
Instead he is affiliated with a left-wing group called the Fair Play for Cuba Committee which calls for the U.S. military to leave that island nation, which America occupied following the so-called 'Bay of Pigs' invasion of April 1961.
Later, aboard Air Force One, which is carrying the body of assassinated President John F. Kennedy back to Washington, Lyndon Baines Johnson is sworn in as the thirty-sixth President of the United States of America. The apparent role of an opponent of America's involvement in Cuba in Kennedy's murder has made Johnson determined to win the war there regardless of the cost.
In 1963, the Presidential motorcade turned into Dealey Plaza at exactly 12.30pm. As the assassins bullets thud into Lyndon Johnson, the Vice President realizes that he has once again been outsmarted by the Ambassador, Joseph P. Kennedy.
In 2012, just a week after he sensationally quit the long-running TV series "Little House on the Prairie", veteran actor Mitt Romney was re-employed as a gas pump jockey in La Jolla, California.
Paw Ingalls Quits 2"Mittens" had played "Paw" Ingalls for nearly three decades, becoming the central character that filled the gaping void left by series anchor Michael Langdon. However as America increasingly embraced diversity, the monochrome series has begun to appear dated. Hoping to fire a new sense of passion, in his own words, Mittens had left nothing on the field and yet was near-universally considered an anachronism by young people and minorities. And recently he had admitted to being "slightly frazzled" by the relentless schedule of appearances, welcoming the opportunity to let down his famously well-groomed hair.
It is considered unlikely that he will resume his entertainment career any time soon. His agent denied rumours that he had been on an all-night milk bender.
In 1899, on this day the 24th Vice President of the United States Garret A. ("Gus") Hobart was welcomed back to the Old Executive Office Building after a leave of absence from serious illness caused by a heart ailment.
Good Old Gus welcomed back to the Old Executive Office BuildingHe had been resting at this New Jersey summer home unable to perform any work duties, uncharacteristically forced to decline a request by President McKinley to encourage the resignation of Secretary of War Russell Alger  (he worked very closely with McKinley, so much so that he was informally known as the "Assistant President"). But fortunately he recovered his health and was renominated as running mate on the winning ticket in 1900.
Fate then played a cruel hand when McKinley was assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition. Shot by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz in Buffalo, the most re-knowned surgeon of the day, Dr. Roswell Park was unable to save his life even with the use of an experimental X-Ray machine which was on show at the exhibition.
As President, he brought the hugely popular Teddy Roosevelt into the Cabinet. TR had won re-election as Governor of New York, and desiring national office, had even been considering a challenge for Thomas Platt Senate seat. But Platt had prevent that displacement by getting TR appointed Secretary of the Navy, a position from which he became famous for his direction of the Panama Canal construction. Hobart's authority meanwhile was weakened by the Coal Strike of 1902. It was this event more than anything that encouraged TR to try to displace Hobart himself by challenging for the GOP nomination in 1904.
In 1963, America was dealt a devastating blow when Air Force One collided with Air Force Two somewhere over Louisiana while en route Love Field in Dallas; President John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon Johnson were both killed instantly along with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Second Lady Claudia Johnson, and several key members of the White House staff. The wreckage from the collision was scattered over hundreds of square miles, with some of it turning up as far away as the Gulf of Mexico.
An article from the November Tragedy thread.
Part 1Initial theories about the cause of Kennedy's and Johnson's deaths suggested everything from lightning strike to terrorism as possible causes, but a subsequent joint FAA-FBI investigation would determine that the chain of events leading to the destruction of Air Force One and Air Force Two had most likely started when Air Force Two's pilot had turned to avoid an oncoming flock of birds and been unable to regain control of his aircraft; Air Force Two then struck Air Force One in its midsection, causing both planes to rip apart and explode.
Within hours after Kennedy's death was confirmed, Speaker of the House John McCormack had been sworn in as the 36th President of the United States, with House Majority Leader Carl Albert serving as McCormack's vice-president. McCormack's first official act as the new commander-in-chief was to phone the late president's brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to begin making arrangements for memorial services for JFK and LBJ.
It is 1499, and two young men in their mid 20s have been sentenced to death for trying to escape the Tower of London. An article from our Happy Endings thread devised by Jackie Rose.
Happy Endings 29:
Richard IV and Edward VI find a very happy endingTheir attempt was suspicious, to say the least. Rumors are rife that King Henry VII had deliberately tried to trap them into fleeing, and for good reason.
One was Perkin Warbeck, who had led several battles against King Henry, by claiming to be the rightful King Richard IV .. one of the two little princes who had vanished after being taken to the Tower, including the rightful heir to the throne.
The other was Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick, who was
undoubtedly the rightful heir, as King Edward IV's nephew. He had been imprisoned since age ten on the orders of King Henry Tudor, the Welsh invader.
King Henry had a more pressing motive, too. Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain had demanded that he kill both boys, in order to ensure the safety of their daughter Catherine of Aragon, who was
betrothed to the English ruler's oldest son, Prince Arthur.
But King Henry had second thoughts, when he learned that rumors of his wicked plan were spreading among the people, thus arousing the possibility of yet another rebellion against him. Making matters worse for him, his own Queen Elizabeth of York was the little princes' sister.. and the mere suspicion that her husband had killed her brother would not have made for much family harmony.
So 18 months before the escape attempt would have been made, he found another option .. namely, the latest voyage of John Cabot, the explorer whom he had been subsidizing.
With Cabot standing beside his throne, King Henry proclaimed to the two young men that he was sending them with the explorer on
his latest journey, to the place that is now Newfoundland, where a priest was also headed to found a Christian community. There, the two youths were further ordered to rule the place as co-regents.
With great relief, both boys pledged eternal loyalty to their king.
Privately, they might have agreed that Newfoundland, by all accounts, was a pretty cold place .. but the Tower was even worse.
In 1916, on this day Kaiser Franz Josef Habsburg, Emperor of the Germans, (pictured) died at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.
Death of Kaiser Franz Josef, Emperor of the GermansHaving ruled for an incredible sixty-eight years, he was succeeded by his twenty-nine year old grand-nephew Karl. Tragically, he died five years later and was succeeded by Otto von Habsburg who lived to the ripe old age of ninety-eight.
The thousand year future of the Imperial House of Habsburg had taken a change of direction after the hard fought victory at Königgrätz which stymied the Prussian attempt to force the unification of Germany on their own terms. And instead of the Hohenzollerns, it would be the Habsburgs who won out, establishing the new Kaiserreich, a Germanic monarchist system, ruled from Vienna with a central european system of thinking. During the transition from Franz Josef to Karl to Otto, nationalist pressures were threatening to rip the Slavic part of the Empire apart. The resolution of this so-called "Southern Question" would completely dominate the early decades of Otto's long rule.
A sign of the coming was the assassination of Franz Josef's nominal heir Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in August 1914. Although the Habsburg brought the Black Hand Gang to justice, by overriding Serbian sovereignty (they insisted on sending detectives across the border) they had inadvertently de-stabilised the entire region.
In 1386, on this day a Georgian army under the command of King Bagrat V defeated the forces of Timur of Samarkand at the gates of the capital city, Tbilisi.
The Triumph of Bagrat the GreatA fair and popular ruler, also known as a perfect soldier, he was dubbed as "Bagrat the Great" by his multiethnic subjects. The Trapezuntine chronicler Michael Panaretos, who knew the king personally, called him a "prominent and victorious general"
But the hard fought victory was only made possible by the arrival of a vital ally, the Khan of Golden Horde, Tokhtamysh (a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timu).
In 1921, on this day the thirty-seventh President of the United States, John Vliet Lindsay (pictured) was born in West End Avenue to an upper middle class family of English and Dutch extraction that had resided in New York City ever since the 1660s.
John V. Lindsay
37th US PresidentWith the outbreak of World War II, Lindsay completed his studies early and joined the United States Navy as a gunnery officer. He obtained the rank of lieutenant, earning five battle stars through action in the invasion of Sicily and a series of landings in the Pacific theater. Resuming at Yale he received his law degree in 1948, ahead of schedule.
Back in New York, Lindsay he met his future wife, Mary Anne Harrison, at the wedding of Nancy Bush (daughter of Connecticut's Senator Prescott Bush and sister of future President George H.W. Bush). After they married he was admitted to the bar, and rose to become a partner in his law firm four years later.
He started gravitating toward politics, serving as one of the founders of the Youth for Eisenhower club in 1951 and as president of the New York Young Republican club in 1952. In 1958, with the backing of Herbert Brownell, Bruce Barton, John Aspinwall Roosevelt, and Mrs Wendell Wilkie, Lindsay won the Republican primary and went on to be elected to Congress as the representative of the "Silk Stocking" district, Manhattan's Upper East Side.
The life of Lindsay and his fellow New Yorkers changed forever on August 17, 1960. New York City suffered the worst storm in its history as a hurricane that by today's standards would be graded Category 4 hit just after 12:30 PM; dubbed "the Jamaica Bay hurricane" because it made landfall near the Jamaica Bay section of Queens, the storm flooded large sections of Queens and Brooklyn and also devastated much of Manhattan and the Bronx. Many of New York's most famous landmarks were heavily damaged or destroyed by the hurricane, which also brought the city's mass transit systems to a screeching halt as flood waters blocked subway tunnels and overran most of the city's major bus routes.
Within months, Robert F. Wagner would resign as mayor of New York City after weeks of constantly growing criticism of his leadership of the response to the Jamaica Bay hurricane; City Council president Abe Stark was sworn in as new mayor as 12:01 that afternoon to finish out the remainder of Wagner's term. Stark, in turn, would be replaced by Congressman and surprise write-in winner of the 1960 mayoral elections John Lindsay.
Due to his vigourous leadership of the rebuilding of the City, he was re-elected in a landslide. But more significantly, he had gained national prominence through the new media of television. Before his second term was out, he was already being talked about as a candidate for the 1968 Presidential election. His opponent in the Republican Primaries would be Michigan Governor George W. Romney who was forced to suspend his campaign due to the tragic death of his son in a car crash in France. And his substitute, fellow Michiganer Robert P. Griffin was unable to retain enough delegates at the Convention. Buoyed by this victory, Lindsay defeated Hubert Humphrey in the Fall.
In 1910, on this day a "revolt of the lash" spurred a race war in Brazil. Brazil, though a large, advancing nation in the early twentieth century and a leader among Latin American countries as part of the ABC Powers (Argentina, Brazil, & Chile), still stood as a culture suffering from racial division.
Revolt of the Lash Spurs Race War in Brazil While many French colonies had ended slavery with the Revolution in 1789, England had abolished it by act of Parliament in 1833, and the United States fought its civil war in 1861 partially over the matter, Brazil did not begin gradually ending slavery until 1871 with the passage of the Rio Branco Law (or "The Law of Free Birth") providing freedom for children newborn to slaves, the Saraiva-Cotegipe Law in 1885 freeing slaves over 60 years old, and finally total abolition in 1888 with the Lei Aurea shortly before the emperor was overthrown. While Brazil avoided much of the US's infamous institutionalization of race superiority with Jim Crow, there was still a significant social division of race among the wealthy whites and the blacks, paros (mixed race), and caboclos (mixed Euro-Indians), fed by intellectual "science" of the time.
"While minorities were kept at a lower caste in general culture, the most obvious racism was felt in the military. In particular, the Brazilian navy was notorious for white commanders with minority crews held at their whim. Living conditions were poor aboard ship, but the navy was making leaps beyond other navies in comparable nations. In the early days of the Republic, the government focused on the army to quell internal problems, leaving only a handful of naval soldiers and less than 2,000 marines. As tiny as it was, the navy proved instrumental in the Revoltas da Armada of 1891 when President Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca attempted to dissolve Congress and continued to battle against President Marshal Floriano Peixoto who held onto office despite legal need of elections in the next few years. After the turn of the century, calls began for building up the navy and establishing Brazil as a significant power at sea. Other nations such as Britain, Germany, and the United States rushed into the naval arms race, and Brazil was quick to catch up with many new ships and two dreadnoughts, the Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, both commissioned in 1910.
Economic downturn struck Brazil just after the completion of their dreadnoughts, causing the third proposed, Rio de Janeiro, to be shelved. The troubled times also turned into harder conditions aboard ship as well as on land with food and supplies cut back to save on expenses. General morale fell, which caused discipline to be sharpened, including the use of racial slurs and corporal punishment, specifically the lash. This aggravated two years of organization and protest against flogging, which involved "leather whips tipped with metal balls", and pushed the sailors into planned mutiny. The men aboard the Minas Gerais chose Joao Candido Felisberto ("The Black Admiral") as leader and watched furiously as a sailor was sentenced to 250 lashes, continuing even after he slipped into unconsciousness.
In the late hours of November 21, the men began their mutiny, killing officers and capturing British engineers as hostages. The revolt spread to the Sao Paulo as well as the Deodoro and the Bahia. Their demands began simply, but as Candido saw that the Army was moving to protect the capital Rio de Janeiro and outnumber the coastal defenders who were sympathetic, he decided that the only way to survive was to make wider demands. The issue that tied the bulk of the oppressed together was the problem of race. Most of the sailors (as well as army and manual laborers) were black, many of them former slaves or their sons, forced into place by lack of other options. Candido and his advisers (including several of the British) wrote up a new list of demands for rights despite race as well as taxes on the rich to support charities for the poor.
The "Letter to Brazil" (Letra a Brasil) was sent by written message, word of mouth, and even wireless, spreading through the country and spawning an upheaval in major cities and areas where minority populations outnumbered the whites. The army quickly came onto the side of the navy, which made the white elites unable to put down the revolt as they had many in the past. Britain began to step in, but when their hostages were cheerfully released home, Brazil was left to itself. Much of the government and the elites fled the country. The remainder invited Candido ashore, and a new government was built following his manifesto.
Public education became mandatory as a subpoint on the Letter, and the new Brazilian Democratic Republic survived its depression to thrive as it contributed to the rebuilding of Europe after its neutrality in World War I. The Great Depression struck harder, and Getulio Vargas swept elections with his nationalist rhetoric. He was invited by Adolph Hitler to join the new Axis, but Vargas decided to continue Brazilian elections and relations with the United States, leading to Brazil's participation in World War II. While economic issues arose after the war and rumors circulated about militaristic or even communist uprising in the 1960s, Brazil would ultimately continue to be a social model to the rest of the world.
In 1867, the House of Representatives ended a furious debate by narrowly voting to impeach Abraham Lincoln after the House Judiciary committee had produced a damning bill consisting of a vast collection of complaints against him.
Lincoln ImpeachedIn order to "bind the wounds" of the Civil War, the sixteenth President's vision for Reconstruction had been a quick and lenient re-uniting of the nation, centered on forgiving most Confederates and quickly bringing their states back to full participation in the Union.
By April of 1865, it had become clear that his plans were no more imaginative than passing control to the former Whigs who had been reluctant secessionists. And in fact the control of the entire Federal Government itself had very nearly passed to Andrew Johnson, an Independent South politician on Good Friday. However, the assassin John Wilkes Booth had misfired at the Ford Theatre, killing Mary Lincoln instead.
The emerging prospect of a confrontation with Congress had become a near certainty when Lincoln refused to sign the Wade-Davis Bill. In so doing, he had rejected a series of far more stringent conditions for the creation of State Governments which had been laid down by Congress.
The underlying issue was that Lincoln did not have a overarching plan, rather than an inclination to use his political genius to move matters forward along a roadmap of his own choosing. His undeclared intention of working with the States on an individual basis was plainly evident in his encouragement of the election of Michael Hahn as a pro-Union Governor to head a loyal government in Louisiana. And by 1867, the US Congress had decided that matters were completely out of control and the legislature must re-establish its authority on Reconstruction by terminating the recalcitrant Lincoln's scheming Presidency.
In 2003, on his retirement as Commander of the United States Central Command, Four Star General Tommy Franks gave an interview to Time Magazine in which he accurately predicted that in the event of another terrorist attack, American Constitutional liberties would be discarded by popular demand in favor of a military state.Petraeus' Knot to Untie, Part 10 - The End of the Grand Experiment
Discussing the dangers posed to the U.S. in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Franks said that "worst thing that could happen" was if terrorists acquired and then used a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicted heavy casualties.
Franks foresaw that under such circumstances "... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we've seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy".
Less than five years later, General David Howell Petraeus and Marine Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis would return from Iraq to an America beset by terrorism, ravaged by climate change, and ruled by a Christian military dictatorship.
The story continues.
On this day in 1963, John F. Kennedy died of a cerebral hemorrhage just hours before he was scheduled to depart on a trip to Dallas; upon confirmation of Kennedy's death, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States.
|John F. Kennedy|
On this day in 1944, Allied forces began advancing on the German seaport of Bremerhaven.
On this day in 1971, Super Bowl 5 MVP Craig Morton returned to action with the Dallas Cowboys, leading them to a 14-point shutout win over the Washington Redskins at RFK stadium.
|Super Bowl 5 MVP|
In 1916, following the death of Franz Josef, Archduke Franz Ferdinand ascended to the Dual Monarchy of Austria Hungary just in time to laumch a program of reform that savied the empire. The expanded Triple Monarchy represented Slavic interests, breaking the former duopoly of German-ruled and Magyar-ruled halves called Cislethiana and Translethiana. The rotating third crown was initially assigned to Bohemia, the homeland of Franz Ferdinand's wife Sophie.
In 1963, on this day a persistent drizzle convinced Winston Lawson to consider covering the motorcade's cars in Dallas with protective bubbletops. It was a topic of discussion in a fortieth anniversary interview he gave to Michael Granberry of the Dallas Morning News entitled 'Those who saved Kennedy remember'. Though the bubbletops were not bulletproof, the metal and the contour of the covering, said Lawson, made it difficult for a bullet to do much damage, and kept the other gunman from even firing in the first place. So he's asked himself a million times: Why if it didn't keep raining?' (Hours later, Dallas would end up sunny.)
In 1993, the first steps were taken towards making the District of Columbia the 51st state when the House of Representatives approved the measure. D.C. officially became a state the next year, electing its first Senators and Representatives in the election of 1994. They are widely credited with stemming a tide of Republican victories that year, leaving the House and Senate in Democratic control.
In 1975, Congressmen of the Socialist Party, newly in the majority after decades out of power, release a report accusing the last two Communist administrations of complicity in the assassinations of several reactionary government leaders abroad, including Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Although a Socialist himself, Comrade President John Anderson orders the report suppressed because 'it would do grievous damage to our country, and be used by groups hostile to the Soviet States to do damage to the reputation and policy of the Soviet States.'
In 1974, Congress failed to override a veto by President Gerald Ford on the Freedom of Information Act. The rest of this post will be $3.95, payable to U.S. Government, Pueblo, Colorado, 81001.
In 4492, Chinese sailors in the eastern ocean discover a settlement of Polynesian people on a chain of islands the natives call Hawai'i. Though the islands are small, they are rich in agricultural produce, as well as natural beauty. Hawai'I soon becomes a trading partner and vacation spot for the Chinese Empire.
In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers, testing their new hot-air balloon, successfully managed to send a French nobleman, the Marquis d'Arlandes, and a prominent physician sailing through the Parisian sky. It was the first time anyone had flown untethered, and the last for a long time, because the Montgolfiers hadn't quite perfected the method of landing the aircraft. The Marquis' successor had them both executed.
In 1946, Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader CBE DSO and Bar DFC and Bar FRAeS DL LegH CdeG RAF pleads guilty to the charge of shooting down twenty two German planes during World War II, the fifth highest total in the RAF. Shot down himself on August 9, 1941 Bader was imprisoned at Stalag Luft III at Sagan and Colditz Castle Oflag IV-C where he made numerous escape attempts despite the loss of both legs in a pre-war flying accident . Bader and Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory were active exponents of the controversial Big Wing theory, an aggressive policy of assembling large formations of defensive fighters north of London ready to inflict maximum damage on the massed German bomber formations as they flew over South East England. The duo failed to sell the strategy to the leaders of Fighter Command Air Marshal Hugh Dowding and Air Vice Marshal Keith Park; instead careful husbanding tactics were pursued by the RAF, contributing in no small part to the British defeat in the air war at the hands of the more aggressive Luftwaffe. The four were still arguing about the pros and cons of the two strategies right up until the execution of Bader on Christmas Eve of 1946.
In 1963, Mr Abraham Zapruder heard a small snapping noise as he cleaned his Model 414 PD Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Camera. He was bitterly disappointed, it would have been nice to have filmed Mr Kennedy as the presidential motorcade passed by his offices in the Dal-Tex Building, off Dealey Plaza and directly across the street east of the Texas School Book Depository
Police Officer Jefferson Davis 'J.D.' Tippit worked beat number 78, his normal patrol area in south Oak Cliff, a residential area in the city of Dallas. In the evening, Police Lieutenant Harry Dean Thomas provided details of the Grassy Knoll assignment for the following day. A squad of assassins had arrived in Dallas, and a shoot on sight policy had been adopted to bolster regular security. A number of trusted offices - such as J.D. - were being embedded in the crowds to eliminate the hit-men - if the need arose
. During the meeting JD was promised a Medal of Valor and the Police Cross; yet the Lieutenant was only partly briefed himself. Badge Man
would receive both awards post-posthumously, a state of being that would be possible in very short order. Twenty five minutes before, in the same Dallas Police Station, arrangements for the the hit on J.D. himself had just been settled.
In 1942, on this day Joseph Robinette (Joe) Biden, Jr. was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Birth of New Sweden Director Joe BidenOf Irish descent, his parents moved the family across the border to New Sweden when he was eleven years old. Growing up in the capital city of Christina , his academic record was unremarkable. He received mostly 'B' grades, but he was a natural leader among the students, and was elected class president during his junior and senior years. He graduated in 1961.
He studied Law in the New Netherlands, , before returning to the Swedish mini state for admission to the bar. But within three years of serving as a public defender he launched a career in politics. The crucial step in this development was his involvement in the controversial development of the East Coast Expressway . This was seen in some quarters as the thin edge of the wedge, a Federalist conspiracy to integrate the economies of New England, Greater Virginia, New Sweden and New Netherlands. Initially against the development, he was to play a major role in the evolution of operating protocols that respected local autonomy but at the same time addressed the economic weakness that had forced his parents emigration. He rose to prominence across the Eastern Seaboard, and ten years later, he became the first native English speaker to serve as Director of the Swedish mini-state. In office, he pushed ahead with imaginative proposals to establish an Eastern Seaboard Free Trade Area.
In 1942, on this day the late Senator Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Birth of Senator Joe BidenHe lived there for ten years before moving to Delaware. He became an attorney in 1969, and was elected to a county council in 1970. Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972 and became the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history.
At the end of Ronald Reagan's second term, he entered the Presidential race under the slogan "A President to make us Proud Again". This was a wide open field because Jimmy Carter's VP Walter Mondale had run (and lost) in 1984 as had Jesse Jackson.
When the campaign began, Biden was considered a potentially strong candidate because of his moderate image, his speaking ability on the stump, his appeal to Baby Boomers, his high profile position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the upcoming Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination hearings, and his fundraising appeal. He raised $1.7 million in the first quarter of 1987, more than any other candidate. Biden received considerable attention in the summer of 1986 when he excoriated Secretary of State George P. Shultz at a Senate hearing because of the Reagan administration's support of South Africa, which continued to practice the apartheid system.
But unfortunately his health took an unexpected down turn, and although he belatedly pulled out of the race, he died aged forty-six long before election day as a result of an aneurysm.
In 1912, on this day Otto von Habsburg (pictured) was born at Villa Wartholz in Reichenau an der Rax.
Birth of Kaiser Otto, Emperor of the GermansOnly four years later he became Crown Prince, and then at the age of just nine, succeeded his father Karl as Emperor of the Germans.
During its thousand year history, the Imperial House of Habsburg had occupied many of the thrones of Europe. But events had taken the oddest of turns in 1866. In the narrowest of victories at the Battle of Königgrätz, the Prussian attempt to force the unification of Germany on their terms ended in failure. And instead of the Hohenzollerns, it would be the Habsburgs who won out, establishing the new Kaiserreich, a Germanic monarchist system, ruled from Vienna with a central european system of thinking.
But by the time Otto was proclaimed Kaiser, nationalist pressures were threatening to rip the Slavic part of the Empire apart. The resolution of this so-called "Southern Question" would completely dominate the early decades of his long rule.
In 284 AD, on this day forty-year old Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus (Diocletian) was chosen as Roman Emperor after the army unanimously saluted him as their new Augustus, and he accepted the purple imperial vestments.
Hedges of the Night
Article written by Ed, Scott Palter & Jeff ProvineFrom freedman had he risen steadily through the ranks of the military, serving in Gaul before the appointment as Dux Moesiae, cavalry commander of forces on the lower Danube. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed Emperor. The title was also claimed by Carus' other surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus. With his accession to power, Diocletian ended the Crisis of the Third Century.
Diocletian appointed fellow officer Maximian Augustus his senior co-emperor in 285. He delegated further on 1 March 293, appointing Galerius and Constantius as Caesars, junior co-emperors. Under this "Tetrarchy", or "rule of four", each emperor would rule over a quarter-division of the Empire. Diocletian secured the Empire's borders and purged it of all threats to his power. He defeated the Sarmatians and Carpi during several campaigns between 285 and 299, the Alamanni in 288, and usurpers in Egypt between 297 and 298. Galerius, aided by Diocletian, campaigned successfully against Sassanid Persia, the Empire's traditional enemy. In 299 he sacked their capital, Ctesiphon. he led the subsequent negotiations and achieved a lasting and favorable peace.
His life experience provided Diocletian with a broad understanding of the operation of the power structures in the Roman Empire. And from his lowly birth status grew the germ of a compelling vision for meritocracy that would secure the future. Clearly to survive the centuries, the Empire needed to devolve into a symbiotic grouping of self-sustaining admnistrative provinces which could draw from local resources (the Rhine and Danube had the good recruiting grounds, whereas the East and to a lesser extent Italy/Africa had the money). But such a structure was always vulnerable to a powerful general whose ambition was to rule the whole Empire.
The answer to this conundrum was the progression of offices under which a Count of Britain picked in York by two Caesars and two Augusti could rise to higher order roles in Trier, Antioch, the Danube and finally Rome. As a further safeguard against dictatorship, Diocletian introduced a formal separation of powers, with a strong Senate and controls to keep the Praetorian Guard in check. It was these "hedges of the night" that would sustain the rule of four in the long centuries to come, preventing the civilized world from plunging into a dark age.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.