A Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

Quick Links


Selected threads


Archive Navigator

January February March
April May June
July August September
October November December

Editor's Postbag     |     Feed


Site Meter

 'American Heroes' by Todayinah Ed.
Todayinah Editor Todayinah Ed. says, Heroes who believed in man's alienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Todayinah site.


January 1

In 1735, on this day the silversmith and renowned loyalist Paul Revere (pictured) was born in the North End of Boston. A post from American Heroes thread.

A Nightmare on King StreetRevulsed by the lynching of British Redcoats on King Street in 1770, he converted to the loyalist cause, later serving with distinction in the Massachusetts Volunteers at the Battle of Long Island and the capture of New York City.

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

Revere helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the patriot militia. In service as a messenger to the crown on April 18, 1775 he received intelligence that one William Dawes had set off to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the movements of the British Army, which was beginning a march from Boston to Lexington, ostensibly to arrest Hancock and Adams and seize the weapons stores in Concord. Anticipating a bloody confrontation like King Street writ large he set off on horseback to warn the King's regulars that they would be met by formations of patriot militia. Due to his tireless energy, wiser heads prevailed and Adams and Hancock were left to enjoy their liberty, for the time being at least.



September 27

In 1722, on this day statesman, political philosopher and Founding Father Samuel Adams was born in Boston in the British colony of Massachusetts.

Ah, le fameux Adams?A graduate of Harvard College he was an unsuccessful businessman and tax collector before concentrating on politics. As an influential official of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Boston Town Meeting in the 1760s, Adams was a part of a movement opposed to the British Parliament's efforts to tax the British American colonies without their consent. His 1768 circular letter calling for colonial cooperation prompted the occupation of Boston by British soldiers, eventually resulting in the Boston Massacre of 1770.

To help coordinate resistance to what he saw as the British government's attempts to violate the British Constitution at the expense of the colonies, in 1772 Adams and his colleagues devised a committee of correspondence system, which linked like-minded Patriots throughout the Thirteen Colonies. Continued resistance to British policy resulted in the 1773 Boston Tea Party and the coming of the American Revolution.

After Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774, Adams attended the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, which was convened to coordinate a colonial response. He helped guide Congress towards issuing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and helped draft the Articles of Confederation and the Massachusetts Constitution. Adams returned to Massachusetts after the American Revolution, where he served in the state senate and was eventually elected President after the collapse of the Confederation. In this executive capacity, and alongside Benjamin Franklin, he played a key mediation role in bringing to a close the War of the States.

His lesser well known second cousin John also played a role in the American Revolution. Arriving in France to support the American Ministery he was mistaken in the Bourbon Court as "Le fameux Adams!". A man of great humility, Samuel dismissed his own contribution as "small beer".



September 30

In 1800, vindicated by a principled yet desperately unpopular "do nothing" decision that had destroyed his own re-election prospects John Adams seized the opportunity to call for a Constitutional Amendment that would restrict the office of the US Presidency to just a single term.

American Hero 2
Ed, Eric Lipps, Robbie Taylor & Scott Palter
The occasion was Adams' finest moment of statesmanship, the signing of the Treaty of Mortefontaine which concluded a "quasi-war" waged by the United States and France primarily in the Caribbean.

Under huge pressure to seek a declaration of outright war from the Congress, Adams remained true to the principles of Washington's Farewell Address which called for his successors to avoid American involvement in conflicts with the European powers. Both the first and second Presidents shared the view that real patriots ignored popular opinion and resisted the influence of friendly nations to seek what was best for their own country

The address also warned of the broader dangers of sectionalism, a concept utterly alien to both Founding Fathers who believed that statesmen should act in the broader interests of the Republic rather than in accordance with the narrow agenda of party.

The Treaty signing might have come too late for Adams to win in 1800 yet with the full support of his predecessor, Adams took a bold step that might remove future Presidents from the short term pressures to act unwisely that either party or public opinion could bring to bear. So he crafted his own farewell address, drawing upon the experience of the quasi-war to justify a single term, six year term limit that would keep future Presidents honest. However he made a critical error by failing to address the issue of succession for a future President who died in office. Or how to avoid Congress pursuing a deselection policy with the blunt instrument of impeachment.

Worse was to follow. Because unfortunately for Washington and Adams, opposition forces (principally Jefferson and Madison) sought to take the proposal off the table by recommending even more comprehensive changes. Their counter-proposal was a Roman style political succession which would require politicans to progress from State Legislatures through to Capitol Hill prior to running for the highest office. The implication of such a change was obvious. A barbed weapon aimed at Adams himself, because such a proposal would rule out dynastic succession, almost certainly preventing his ambitious son John Quincy Adams from ever running for President in the future.



October 30

In 1735, on this day John Adams, second President of the United States was born in Braintree, Massachusetts.

American Hero 2b
Birth of John Adams
Once in office, he seized the opportunity to call for a Constitutional Amendment that would restrict the office of the US Presidency to just a single six year term. The occasion was Adams' finest moment of statesmanship, the signing of the Treaty of Mortefontaine which concluded a "quasi-war" waged by the United States and France primarily in the Caribbean.

Under huge pressure to seek a declaration of outright war from the Congress, Adams remained true to the principles of Washington's Farewell Address which called for his successors to avoid American involvement in conflicts with the European powers. Both the first and second Presidents shared the view that real patriots ignored popular opinion and resisted the influence of friendly nations to seek what was best for their own country

The address also warned of the broader dangers of sectionalism, a concept utterly alien to both Founding Fathers who believed that statesmen should act in the broader interests of the Republic rather than in accordance with the narrow agenda of party.

The Treaty signing might have come too late for Adams to win in 1800 yet with the full support of his predecessor, Adams took a bold step that might remove future Presidents from the short term pressures to act unwisely that either party or public opinion could bring to bear. So he crafted his own farewell address, drawing upon the experience of the quasi-war to justify a single term, six year term limit that would keep future Presidents honest. However he made a critical error by failing to address the issue of succession for a future President who died in office. Or how to avoid Congress pursuing a deselection policy with the blunt instrument of impeachment.

Worse was to follow. Because unfortunately for Washington and Adams, opposition forces (principally Jefferson and Madison) sought to take the proposal off the table by recommending even more comprehensive changes. Their counter-proposal was a Roman style political succession which would require politicans to progress from State Legislatures through to Capitol Hill prior to running for the highest office. The implication of such a change was obvious. A barbed weapon aimed at Adams himself, because such a proposal would rule out dynastic succession, almost certainly preventing his ambitious son John Quincy Adams from ever running for President in the future.

But the real consequence was the departure of "men of ambition" [1] who rushed to join the rebel Colonel Burr in his hinterland nation of Gloriana [2].



October 7

In 1792, on this day a Founding Father of the Republic of Virginia George Mason IV died at his home in Gunston Hall in Fairfax County, VA. He was sixty-six years old.

American Hero
Ed & Scott Palter
At the Williamsburg Convention he drafted the Colonies' very first declaration of rights and state constitution. First Pennsylvania, then Maryland, then Delaware, then North Carolina and others took most or all of the Declaration of Rights and either made them amendments to their own constitutions or incorporated them directly into their constitutions. Thomas Jefferson paraphrased his ideas into the Declaration of Independence, and although Mason did not receive full credit for his contribution, the entire Continental Congress knew of the conceptual source of Jefferson's ideas.

"a man of the first order of wisdom" ~ Jefferson on MasonAs a result of his high profile he was was appointed to represent Virginia as a delegate to a Federal Convention, to meet in Philadelphia for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.

He refused to sign the Constitution, however, and returned to his native state as an outspoken opponent in the ratification contest. Ironically, one objection to the proposed Constitution was that it lacked a "declaration of rights".



December 11

In 1725, on this day George Mason IV (a "Founding Father" of the Republic of Virginia) was born at the family plantation in Fairfax County.

American Hero
Ed & Scott Palter
At the Williamsburg Convention he drafted the Colonies' very first declaration of rights and state constitution. First Pennsylvania, then Maryland, then Delaware, then North Carolina and others took most or all of the Declaration of Rights and either made them amendments to their own constitutions or incorporated them directly into their constitutions. Thomas Jefferson paraphrased his ideas into the Declaration of Independence, and although Mason did not receive full credit for his contribution, the entire Continental Congress knew of the conceptual source of Jefferson's ideas.

"a man of the first order of wisdom" ~ Jefferson on MasonAs a result of his high profile he was was appointed to represent Virginia as a delegate to a Federal Convention, to meet in Philadelphia for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.

He refused to sign the Constitution, however, and returned to his native state as an outspoken opponent in the ratification contest. Ironically, one objection to the proposed Constitution was that it lacked a "declaration of rights".



June 11

In 1880, on this day the paddle steamer Narragansett nearly collided with her sister ship the SS Stonington near the mouth of the Connecticut River in Long Island Sound.

American Heroes: Charles J. GuiteauSignificant controversy followed the collision, as the captains of the two ships gave different accounts of the accident and the events leading up to it, and the crew of the Narragansett faced accusations of neglecting its duty. The only fact they agreed upon was the circumstances of the single fatality arising from the accident. As the Stonington veered to avoid contact, steam swept across the deck, killing a solitary passenger called Charles J. Guiteau who had the courage to raise the alarm in the heavy fog.

Although Guiteau had failed at everything he had ever tried, he believed that he had a glorious future ahead of him. And as fate transpired, his misery had saved hundreds of lives because he wandered above deck in an attempt to find some peace of mind.
This is an article from our American Heroes thread.



June 6

In 1799, on this day master orator, attorney, planter and anti-monarchist politician Patrick Henry died on his five hundred and twenty acre plantation at Red Hill near Brookneal, Virginia in Charlotte County.

American Heroes: Patrick HenryA Founding Father, he served as the first and sixth post-colonial Governor of Virginia, from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786. Henry led the opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765 and is remembered for his "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" speech. Along with Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine, he is remembered as one of the most influential exponents of Republicanism, promoters of the American Revolution and independence, especially in his defense of historic rights.

Understandably, Henry became one of the fiercest opponents to the elevation of General Washington to King George the First of America. A barnstorming speech at the Virginia Ratification Convention ended with the erodite remark "Our Cincinnatus has become our Julius Caesar". But his eloquence was no match for the General's popularity and prestige and Henry was unable to stop the Royal House of Washington. However the lack of a suitable male heir brought the Monarchist experiment to a crashing halt just six months later. Perhaps his fellow Virginian himself accepted the brutal judgement of history for his last words were uncharacteristically philosophical "Tis well". Disgusted by the indecision and chaos of the Continental Congress, and the Articles of the Confederation, Washington had only accepted the throne in an attempt to steer the infant American state into early maturity.
This post is an article from our alternative American Heroes thread.



January 23

In 1737, on this day American merchant and statesman John Hancock was born in Braintree in the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

Birth of John Hancock, ReduxA prominent Patriot of the American Revolution, he served as the President of the Continental Congress and placed the most prominent signature on the Declaration of Independence.

However his final years were marred with bitter disappointment. After the demise of General Washington in the tragedy at Elk River, he emerged as an expedient choice for successor candidate. But his national leadership was overwhelmed by determined challenges to the ratification process.

It soon began to appear distinctly possible that two nations might emerged from the crisis, a northern Federalist state led by John Adams, and an anti-Federalist country led by Thomas Jefferson and his lieutenant James Madison. Not being a conviction Federalist, this ideological division paralyzed his figurehead-style candidacy. And without a robust doctrine he also lacked the moral authority of the illustrious Father of the Nation. By the time of his premature death in 1793, he was a marginalized figure out of time. An echo of revolutionary fervour inadequately equipped to confront the challenges of self-rule. An installment from the American Heroes thread



January 17

In 1706, on this day America's first president, Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts Bay. This article is part of the American Heroes thread.

Birth of President FranklinHe was a major figure in the American Enlightenment before joining the patriot cause. Matched only by George Washington amongst the Founding Fathers, he was the universal choice when the General declined the Presidency [1].

And yet his term of office ended in bitter acrimony. Because in February 1790 he gave his full public support to Congressional petitions submitted by Quakers and also the Pennsylvania Abolition Society [2]. Consideration of a National Emancipation Plan was demanded, but the abolitionists were out-foxed by that master of parliamentary procedure James Madison. He ensured that the Committee Report was revised by the House, creating a legislative precedent making it unconstitutional to "attempt to manumit them [the eighteen-year moratorium on Congressional action to abolish slavery] at any time". In his diary an unhappy General Washington noted that "the slave issue has [been] put to rest but will soon awake" [3].

Franklin was of course fully aware that the Philadelphia Agreement had taken the power to abolish slavery out of the hands of the Northern States until at least 1808 when the slave trade itself was expected to end. Nevertheless he knew that the institution of slavery was incompatible with the principle of liberty established by the revolution, and therefore the possiblity of secession from Deep South States was an acceptable risk for the infant Republic. Private letters later revealed that he was absolutely convinced that Georgia and South Carolina were bluffing.

His death therefore opened up a whole series of debates. Obviously the need to move the ownership of legislative precedent into a much stronger Supreme Court, perhaps the need for the Churches to own the issue of slavery as a sin requiring national purging. But instead his "Farewell Address" he characteristically took the higher ground, calling for Presidential Leadership on the issue up until 1808 when the moratorium on the slave trade would expire. This was viewed in the Deep South as a warning of the possible creation of a North Atlantic Confederacy which would exclude slave-owning states at a minimum Georgia and South Carolina.



February 21

In 1794, on this day the seventh President of the United States Louis St Ann (real name López de Santa Anna) was born in Xalapa, New Spain.

Birth of Seventh US President Louis St AnnAlthough he came from a respected Spanish colonial family, he broke with the criollo middle class by converting to protestantism and obtaining US citizenship (after obscuring his place of birth). And unquestionably his patriotism was on shining display throughout the war of 1812. Enlisting in an infantry regiment, he was quickly promoted to Lieutenant and then Captain before the age of twenty. But it was his remarkable military service during the famous Battle of New Orleans that firmly established Santa Anna as an American hero that transcended the bigotry of that era.

After the War, he remained in the region, emerging as a strong candidate for Senator of Louisiana. It was this political platform that served as a stepping stone to the White House in 1839. A century later, the hispanic features of this national icon, our "Napoleon of the West" illuminated the face of Mount Rushmore.
This article is part of our long running American_Heroes thread.



December 26

In 1996, in one of his final executive actions, President Paul Tsongas authorized the early release of Daniel Ellsberg.

Ellsberg ReleasedTsongas died just three weeks later and his successor Bill Clinton was in office when Ellsberg actually left prison.

A consultant at the Pentagon, he was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for treason. Ellsberg had been caught trying to peddle classified papers to various news organizations through a fortuitous tip from his psychiatrist. President Nixon said, "Filthy traitors aren't welcome in our America".
Note - This article is a continuation of Robbie Taylor's post 31 July 1974: Ellsberg sentenced as explained by Michel Vuijlsteke on the The Annotated Today in Alternate History web site.



May 11

In 1973, on this day U.S. District Judge William Matthew Byrne, Jr. sentenced Daniel Ellsberg to twenty-five years imprisonment for releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times.

Ellsberg Sentenced to Twenty-Five years ImprisonmentEllsberg had cited government misconduct, a defence that he repeated in his subsequent appeals. But he only managed to reduce the sentence by twenty-four months, serving a jail term of twenty-three years.

Because in 1996 in one of his final executive actions, President Paul Tsongas authorized the early release of Daniel Ellsberg. Tsongas died just three weeks later and his successor Bill Clinton was in office when Ellsberg actually left prison.

A consultant at the Pentagon, he was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for treason. Ellsberg had been caught trying to peddle classified papers to various news organizations through a fortuitous tip from his psychiatrist. President Nixon said, "Filthy traitors aren't welcome in our America".
Note - This article is a continuation of Robbie Taylor's post 31 July 1974: Ellsberg sentenced as explained by Michel Vuijlsteke on the The Annotated Today in Alternate History web site.



August 21

In 1754, on this day the British Colonel Banastre Tarleton (pictured) better known variously as "Bloody Ban", "The Butcher", "The Green Dragoon" was born in the City of Liverpool. He was the fourth of seven children born to the merchant, ship owner and slave trader, John Tarleton of Liverpool, who served as Mayor of Liverpool and had extensive trading links with Britain's American colonies. An article from the American Heroes thread

Jefferson killed in the Tragedy at CharlottesvilleIn December 1775, he sailed from Cork as a volunteer to North America where rebellion had recently broken out triggering the American Revolutionary War. Six years later he marched with Cornwallis into Virginia.

Tarleton undertook a series of small expeditions while in Virginia. Among them was the notorious raid on Charlottesville, where he captured Governor Thomas Jefferson who had been attending a meeting of the Virginia legislature. Out of a sense of British fair play, the Assembly building was burnt down and Jefferson shot by Redcoats. But of course hate begats hate and the British derived no absolutely no advantage from the brutal field execution of the enlightened genius who drafted the Declaration of Independence. And Tarleton himself was killed by American soldiers after the surrender at Yorktown.

At the suggestion of President Aaron Burr, in 1801 a monument to Jefferson was built next to a reconstruction of the Assembly building. In 1830, upon her ascension to the throne, Queen Charlotte paid a State visit to pray for the victims of the American revolution. But in a sense it was unnecessary to commemorate his sacrifice. Because in her diary that evening, Her Majesty noted that it was as if Jefferson was in the next room the whole time.



February 23

In 1836, having saved the remnant Mexicans from Commanchees, the liberation forces of La Provincia de Texas commanded by López de Santa Anna arrived at San Antonio de Béxar and rescued the garrison trapped at the Alamo Mission.

Legend of The Liberator:
How the South-West was Won
Of course long before this late stage in the hostilities the Spanish Authorities had realised the full significance of their historic error in selling the Port of New Orleans to the United States Government. This limited transaction had revealed their equivocal commitment to the region, and in retrospect, they would surely have been better advised to relinquish the entire Louisiana Territory. But they hadn't, and instead, this costly thirty year struggle had ensued.

The nearest Spanish Garrison was in Sante Fe. However armed Anglo settlers had begun to arrive in numbers and change the military balance of the region. But like Simon Bolivar, Santa Anna played a pivotal role in carving out an independent new nation in the Americas. He founded a South-western Confederacy stretching from Oklahoma and Arkansas through to the Gulf of Mexico, and more than that, he ensured that the new nation was viable by forging a comprehensive political and military partnership with the United States.



April 17

In 1790, on this day America's first president, Benjamin Franklin, died in the capitol at Philadelphia in the middle of his first term.
This article is part of the American Heroes thread.

Passing of President FranklinHe was a major figure in the American Enlightenment before joining the patriot cause. Matched only by George Washington amongst the Founding Fathers, he was the universal choice when the General declined the Presidency [1].

And yet his term of office ended in bitter acrimony. Because in February 1790 he gave his full public support to Congressional petitions submitted by Quakers and also the Pennsylvania Abolition Society [2]. Consideration of a National Emancipation Plan was demanded, but the abolitionists were out-foxed by that master of parliamentary procedure James Madison. He ensured that the Committee Report was revised by the House, creating a legislative precedent making it unconstitutional to "attempt to manumit them [the eighteen-year moratorium on Congressional action to abolish slavery] at any time". In his diary an unhappy General Washington noted that "the slave issue has [been] put to rest but will soon awake" [3].

Franklin was of course fully aware that the Philadelphia Agreement had taken the power to abolish slavery out of the hands of the Northern States until at least 1808 when the slave trade itself was expected to end. Nevertheless he knew that the institution of slavery was incompatible with the principle of liberty established by the revolution, and therefore the possiblity of secession from Deep South States was an acceptable risk for the infant Republic. Private letters later revealed that he was absolutely convinced that Georgia and South Carolina were bluffing.

His death therefore opened up a whole series of debates. Obviously the need to move the ownership of legislative precedent into a much stronger Supreme Court, perhaps the need for the Churches to own the issue of slavery as a sin requiring national purging. But instead his "Farewell Address" he characteristically took the higher ground, calling for Presidential Leadership on the issue up until 1808 when the moratorium on the slave trade would expire. This was viewed in the Deep South as a warning of the possible creation of a North Atlantic Confederacy which would exclude slave-owning states at a minimum Georgia and South Carolina.



September 11

In 2001, on this day United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Washington D.C. destroying the White House (pictured) and killing Vice President Dick Cheney.

Patriot ActThe passengers had immediately grasped the full magnitude of the September 11th attacks from mobile phone calls placed to their friends and relatives. Appalled by the widespread and wholly predictable failure of Federal Agencies these brave Americans had acted independently, mobilizing into an unarmed civilian militia that stormed the cockpit of the Boeing 757-222. They did manage to quickly disarm the al-qaeda terrorists, but then decided to proceed with the mission in order to save the Republic from the tyranny of consolidated Government.

That improbable turn of events was the result of a human error. Patched through to the situation room, Dick Cheney had spoken into a "hot mike" that he was told had been disconnected to the Flight. The passengers clearly heard the Vice President describe the attack as a CIA Blowback Operation. The last words from the passengers were heard by operator Lisa Jefferson at 09:55 and attributed to thirty-two year old Todd Beamer ~ "Are you guys ready? Okay. Let's roll!". It was the unmistakable voice of the American battle cry, Let Freedom Ring!
This post is an article of our alternate American Heroes thread.



August 27

In 1664, on this day the Dutch defenders of Fort Amsterdam received first reports that the English invasion fleet had sunk in a storm. An article from the American Heroes thread.

Relief in the Big OrangeThe capital of the New Netherlands had miraculously survived. And to celebrate victory in the Third Anglo-Dutch War ten years later, the defense was renamed Fort Willem Hendrick (pictured) in honor of the Dutch leader who was Stadtholder and Prince of Orange. And New Amsterdam was renamed New Orange.

Due to the peaceful manner in which the region was later,transitioned to the United States, Dutch-American relationship remained warm. As a result, three hundred years later, the ten-lane elevated highway stretching from the East River to the Hudson River, connecting the Holland Tunnel on the west side to the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges to the east was named the Willem Hendrick Expressway [1].



December 7

In 1796, Federalists crash to defeat in the Electoral College because three electors from North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania switch their votes to Thomas Jefferson.
An article from the American Heroes thread

Revolution of 1796: Jefferson succeeds WashingtonAny other outcome would have been a travesty of justice for the simple reason that in the popular vote Jefferson had won 55 electoral votes compared to 33 for his opponent John Adams.

Cynics suspected that Jefferson had hoped to lose the election because General Washington's successor was bound to lose re-election. While this was certainly a calculation in his mind, there was a much more tangible reason for his reluctance. Because Jefferson, as a dogmatic supporter of the French Revolution, would be forced to take office at a time when both nations were locked in a state of quasi-war that would probably escalate into a major conflict. Ironically, the result of this tricky situation was that Jefferson was indeed proven right, he did fail to get re-elected, and instead was succeeded by John Marshall.



January 2

In 1963, joined in their historic struggle to liberate Vietnam from neo-colonial rule the first wave of American Advisers led by Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann enabled left-behind Viet Minh forces to score a decisive victory at Ap Bac.

Saving Uncle HoLocated just forty miles to the south west was the seat of Government in Saigon. This capital of intrigue, corruption and nepotism was callously mistreating the very people it was supposed to protect.

But it was at Ap Bac that the Viet Minh and their American allies first exposed the underlying weakness of the French-supported regime. Despite enjoying greater advantages which came in the form of French armored personnel carriers and helicopters, Loyalist commanders were deterred from pressing home their victory due to their reluctance to absorb casualties that could be detrimental to their military careers

But in a larger sense there was just no stopping the infectious spirit of '76, and before too long, they had Government forces on the run. And they kept running until the Viet Minh chased the regime and their money-counting French backers out of Saigon.



March 6

In 1797, on the eve of the inauguration, George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson dined at the Presidential Mansion in Philadelphia. An article from the American Heroes thread

The Dinner, ReduxTo be sure the evening got off to a bad start because Jefferson immediately declared his unwillingness to join the Cabinet or take part in the Peace Delegation to end the quasi-war with France. "As to my participating in the administration, if by that he [Adams] meant the executive cabinet, both duty and inclination will shut that door to me. I cannot have a wish to see the scenes of 1793 revived as to myself, and to descend daily into the arena like a gladiator, to suffer martyrdom in every conflict".

As a matter of fact he planned to head straight back to Monticello as soon as he was sworn in as Vice President. This rather final statement of abdication produced a big scary smile from General Washington. Because taken in combination, it was an outright rejection of Adams bold (some might say naive) bipartisan strategy of bringing together Federalists and Republicans within a unified cabinet. This radical proposal had led Washington's advisers to threaten to quit en masse. But fortunately for Adams, General Washington thought it was a fine idea.

Therefore the outgoing President prevailed upon Jefferson to lead the peace delegation to Paris. This was not at all easy; firstly Jefferson's chief lieutenant James Madison had also refused to participate, and secondly because it was not at all clear that a settlement was possible. This was because the French Regime was not only unstable, but held the Federal Government in low regard. Needless to say, Washington succeeded, both Jefferson and Madison headed off to Paris and the result, whilst disappointing and controversial, was largely supported by both political parties.



September 19

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.



September 25

In 1775, on this day an invasion force led by Colonel Ethan Allen crossed the St Lawrence River and forced the Governor-General of Canada Sir Guy Cartleon to abandon British Montreal.

The Fall of Montreal
Ethan Allen's Big Adventure
The British Force in Montreal was pitiful, comprising only thirty-four regulars and a handful of Mohawk Indians. But more tellingly, over one-third of the population were merchants and their employees originally from New England. Carleton's approach to gaining the support of the merchants was to threaten to burn down their warehouses full of furs and wheat if they refused to defend Montreal.

This clumsy attempt to encourage the townspeople to join the militia as "shirtmen" was caused by his own deployment misjudgements. He had started the war with just seven hundred regulars in the combined 26th Cameronian Regiment of Foot and the 7th Royal Fusiliers. But Allen's victories at Ticonderoga and Crown Point had reduced this force, which was then divided to defend Fort St John in the south-east.

Allen commanded the largest paramilitary force in British North America. But in truth only the eight-nine soldiers of the Green Mountain Boys from Vermont were the equals of the King's troops. This fact was unknown to Carleton, who was panicked by the size of the invading force which numbered in the hundreds. And last minute negotiations (including a desperate final offer to pay volunteers half a Portugese silver Johanna a day) were interrupted with the news that Allen's force had reached the suburbs of Longue-Pointe, less than two miles away.

In retrospect, we can see that Carleton was bluffed by the boldness of Allen's plan. His decision to bypass the Forts of St. John and Chambly accelerated the invasion by as much as two months, just enough time to capture Quebec before a northern winter could ruin General Washington's pincer movement.
This article is part of the American Heroes thread.



January 18

In 1877, on this day the Electoral Count presented to the US Congress a revised proposal for the resolution of the disputed twenty votes that would decide whether Samuel Tilden or Rutherford B. Hayes would occupy the White House.

The Making of a PresidentDemocrats had carried most of the South, as well as New York, Indiana, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The popular vote also favored Tilden, but Republicans realized that if they held the three un-redeemed southern states together with some of the western states, they would emerge with an electoral college majority.

However the composition of the Electoral Commission strongly favoured the Republican Candidate, an outcome considered unacceptable to General George B. McClellan, a Democrat challenger in the 1864 election. In New York he set about raising a private army that would march on Washington DC to force Hayes to accept defeat. An installment from the American_Heroes thread



January 1

In 2013, on this day the United Kingdom assumed the year-long rotating presidency of the G8 group.
This article is part of the American Heroes thread.

The President-elect's Tax HavensNeedless to say, the British Cabinet had already taken ownership of the responsibilities which include hosting the annual leaders' summit (in Lough Erne, County Fermanagh) and choosing the global priorities for discussion. Accordingly, they had already chosen to focus on combating trade protectionism, cracking down on tax havens and promoting greater government transparency.

These themes (in fact the UK Government's own agenda items) had been repeatedly articulated by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne throughout the year. Even before Mitt Romney became President-elect, creating a situation of conflict because he himself had been pilloried for avoiding US taxation by holding funds off-shore.



November 16

In 1798, the Kentucky State Legislature passed a resolution stating that acts of the national government beyond the scope of its constitutional powers were "unauthoritative, void, and of no force". An article from the American Heroes thread

Thomas Jefferson ImpeachedThe originator of the resolution was none other than the duplicitous Thomas Jefferson who was serving as both Vice President and also the leader of the Republican Opposition Party. It was of course an impossible conflict of loyalties that the Founding Fathers had not anticipated at Philadelphia.

But inevitably, there was a leak and he was called out by the Adams administration for violating the Alien and Sedition Act. The Republic watched in horror as the author of the Declaration of Independence was charged with impeachment. In his defence, Jefferson and his chief lieutenant James Madison sincerely believed that the Federalists had betrayed the American Revolution.

At a personal level, Adams of course was vindicated by the exposure. Throughout his tenture, he had been betrayed by malicious gossip and slander spread by his former friend. Despite that fact that he had withdrawn to Monticello and refused to participate in Cabinet, Adams said it was like Jefferson was in the next room the whole time.



July 22

In 1812, on this day the Royal Navy's impressment and seizures of American ships and sailors was brought to an end by the signing of the Treaty of Trois-Riveries. An article from the American Heroes thread.

Treaty of Trois-RiveriesBy removing the source of diplomatic tensions between their respective nations, British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval and US President Charles C. Pinckney paved the way for better Anglo-American relations.

But the negotiations could have ended in disaster had it continued beyond March 4, 1813. The American side knew that if Madison took office, and they were not finished, he would try his best to trigger another Anglo-American war. So, the American side retorted to compromise and agreement, and by July 22, 1812, the treaty was made, and it was signed that very day, into legal existence.



Older Posts 




© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.