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

'Liberty Fails' by Guest Historian Eric Lipps
Guest Historian Guest Historian Eric Lipps says, various posts written by Mr Lipps yet to be fully categorised. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit My AOL site.


February 2

In 1777, John and Thomas Adams and their families arrive in New Orleans, having fled Massachusetts with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Both men soon become active in producing propaganda aimed at encouraging a new rebellion. The refusal of Spanish authorities to hand over the "traitors" further angers the British, who are already incensed that the Adamses' fellow colonial rebel Alexander Hamilton has been given safe haven.

 -


February 22
In 1777, following weeks of incarceration by the British and a mockery of a trial, George Washington is hanged for treason on his birthday.


February 23

In 1777, Benjamin Franklin is arrested in London while on a last desperate mission to appeal to Parliament for 'an equitable solution to the grievances between the colonies and the Crown.' Because Franklin still has influential friends in England, he is not executed; instead, he is sent to prison, and, in September of 1788, will be transported to the newly established Botany Bay penal colony in Australia.

 -


July 4

In 1826, Thomas Jefferson dies in exile in France. Once wealthy, he is broke and deep in debt at his death. His funeral will be attended by several of the surviving members of the American revolutionary movement, including Aaron Burr, who has been living in Paris since the collapse of the Mexican independence movement in 1818 forced him to flee that Spanish colony. In a burst of gallows humor, Burr describes the gathering as "the finest collection of condemned traitors in one place in all of modern Europe".

 -


July 18

In 1814, Britain concludes a treaty with native tribes granting it sovereignty over the large Illinois Territory in exchange for guarantees that it will limit white settlement in the region. Although London will initially make real efforts to abide by these pledges - motivated by a desire to avoid another round of bloody, and expensive, Indian wars at a time when it faces a deadly foe on the Continent - it will prove impossible to keep settlers out, and, faced with the choice of honoring its treaty commitments or protecting white holdings against often lethal raids, the British government will take the latter path.

 -

In March of 1816, the Crown Colony of Ohio will be created from part of the Illinois Territory; in August of the following year, another portion of the same lands will be incorporated as the colony of New Cornwall. These moves, undertaken without consultation with the local tribes, will be harbingers of the British choice to favor white settlerment despite its pledges not to do so.



April 11
In 1803, British troops cross into Louisiana. King George III has decided to seize the territory from France in order to eliminate it as a refuge for colonial dissidents such as John and Samuel Adams, who, under the protection of the French crown, have continued to produce inflammatory literature urging the British colonists to rebel again.


April 17

In 1790, exiled American patriot Benjamin Franklin dies in Britain's Botany Bay prison colony in Australia, at the age of 84. In that community of exiles, the elderly Franklin has become something of a folk hero; his survival to such an age despite years of imprisonment in England and transportation in 1788 to the primitive conditions of the Botany Bay outpost is considered a sign of his toughness, and his accounts of the American try for independence appeal to his fellow transportees, who have no more reason than he to love the Crown. Franklin's revolutionary rhetoric will inspire the creation of an Australian version of the American Sons of Liberty after his death.

 -


January 20

In 1802, President Alexander Hamilton puts into effect a plan he and President Washington had discussed during the latter's administration, declaring New York's Columbia College America's 'national university.' Under this scheme, promising students from all over the country will be invited to Columbia to be groomed for leadership positions in government and the military. Southerners are angered that a 'Yankee' university has been chosen for this honor, and insist that such Southern schools as Virginia's William and Mary College at least equally deserve. Southern congressmen vow to block the use of any federal money for the new national university.

Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton - 3rd President
3rd President


January 14

In 1777, George Washington is captured at his estate at Mount Vernon, to which he has returned to salvage what he can before Tory mobs wreck the place following the collapse of the American colonial rebellion.

An informer tips off local British officers, and Washington is dragged from his bed at two in the morning after having spent the previous day feverishly packing his valuables.

 -


January 2

In 1777, Alexander Hamilton arrives in New Orleans, having fled New York by ship a step ahead of British troops assigned to arrest him. Angry demands from British authorities that he be surrendered to them are ignored.

 -


December 16

In 1813, Australia's version of America's old Sons of Liberty stages a replay in Sydney harbor of the 1773 Boston Tea Party exactly forty years earlier: a gang of masked 'patriots' dumps a shipment of tea into the water in protest of the high taxes imposed on that commodity's importation to then island continent. This relatively harmless stunt will be followed by more violent actions expressing colonists' resentment of their treatment by the mother country.

 -

Established after the death of Benjamin Franklin, who had been transported to the primitive Botany Bay outpost after years of imprisonment following his unsuccessful last-ditch attempt to secure a peaceful settlement between Britain and its rebellious American colonies, the Australian Sons of Liberty have been a thorn in the side of the colonial administration there for years.



January 1

In 1808, the Africa Act, passed by Parliament the previous October, goes into effect, banning the African slave trade and empowering British naval vessels to intercept and impound slave ships on the high seas.

The Act inspires fury in the slaveholding American colonies, sparking talk of a new rebellion.

 -


July 24

In 1837, Sir Charles Wheatstone and William Cooke demonstrate the first successful electric telegraph, transmitting a short message along five miles of wire strung between Euston and Camden Town in England.

Others have been working on similar systems, including the colonial American inventor Samuel F. B. Morse. Wheatstone and Cooke's demonstration, however, will win them priority in receiving a royal patent on this device.

 - Transmitter
Transmitter

In America, Morse will turn his attention to what others see as an impractical extension of the telegraph: the "telephone" a device capable of transmitting the human voice over a wire.

The competition between Wheatstone and Cooke in England and Morse and others in Britain's American colonies is a sign of the growing industrial and scientific power of the colonies since the decision by the Crown and Parliament during the Napoleonic period to end its earlier practice of stifling American industry to maintain a captive market for British manufactures. That policy, which had been profitable in the eighteenth century, had hobbled the colonies' ability to provide the mother country with arms during the years of conflict with the French Empire, nearly enabling Bonaparte to win.



May 21

In 1813, Andrew Jackson is chosen as spokesman for the growing number of settlers in Tennessee and dispatched to Fort Coxeboro, the de facto capital of the newly incorporated colony, to present a list of the settlers' grievances to the authorities there. The settlement had been founded in 1791 by Tench Coxe, the Loyalist scion of a wealthy Philadelphia family, who had made a name for himself under General Sir William Howe during the American colonial rebellion of the mid-1770s.

 -

Unfortunately, the only real 'authorities' yet established there are the officers of the military garrison. Those officers, mostly British, take a dim view of being presented with demands by someone they see as an inferior colonial ruffian, and forcibly expel him from the settlement, threatening to imprison him if he dares return.

Jackson, a proud man, is humiliated and enraged. On his return home, he informs the settlers' council which had sent him to Coxeboro of his treatment and demands that the British be made to realize that, "By God, we are as much men as they, and as much deserving of respect!".



January 29

In 1820, King George III of England dies at Windsor Castle.

His son George, Prince of Wales, who has been serving as the de facto monarch for the past ten years, will be crowned King George IV. The succession will be greeted with a sense of relief throughout the British Empire, for the old king had been ill for a decade, during which Prince George had served as regent.

 - King George III
King George III

And in the American colonies, the death of George III will be quietly celebrated, for many older Americans still remember with bitterness the exploitive economic measures he and his Parliament instituted beginning in the 1750s, which had led to the unsuccessful colonial revolt of the mid-1770s, and the repression which had followed the rebellion. The jackbooted, red-uniformed 'Order Police' established in the colonies after the uprising are still a feared and hated presence there, and it is quietly hoped that the new king may withdraw them.



September 29

In 1829, the 'Scotland Yard' headquarters of the new London Metropolitan Police Force opens for business following passage of the Metropolitan Police act as a result of strong lobbying by Home Secretary Robert Peel.

'The Yard' will open offices in Britain's American colonies over the next several years, gradually assuming many of the functions of the hated Order Police as well as conduction ordinary law enforcement.

Home Secretary
Home Secretary - Robert Peel
Robert Peel


September 9

In 1811, realizing that he is dangerously overextended now that other nations have begun taking England's side, Napoleon dispatches diplomatic envoys to a number of nations in search of allies of his own. In addition, he directs that agents be sent to Quebec and Louisiana to stir up pro-French sentiment and, if possible, rebellion.

 - Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte

The French emperor's efforts will be insufficient to ignote a full-scale rebellion, but his exploitation of simmering discontent among the French-speaking inhabitants of Quebec Province will lead to the creation in 1814 of the Front Nationale de Quebec, an underground political and paramilitary group. Continuing British military rule proves to be a powerful recruiting tool for the FNQ, which, although unable to mount a new full-scale rebellion, will embark on a campaign of murder, sabotage and intimidation against the British authorities - and their Quebecois collaborators, whom the Front labels 'traitors.'



February 12

In 1814, with the violence which had erupted in Tennessee following the so-called 'Fort Coxeboro Massacre' finally subsiding, the commander of the British garrison lifts martial law.

Military rule had been of only limited effectiveness anyway in the thinly-settled colony. The commander does, however, request a permanent increase in the number of troops allotted to his command.

 - Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson, who as leader of the colonial delegation sent to Fort Coxeboro in May of 1813 to present a list of colonists' grievances to the colonial authorities had been first humiliated and then killed following the outbreak of fighting, has been memorialized among the settlers despite strong official disapproval. Colonial authorities fear that he will become a symbol around whom would-be rebels may rally in the future.



September 1
Am I Not a Man

In 1832, the Sovereignty Crisis erupts in South Carolina over fears that abolitionists are gaining ground in Parliament and may finally succeed in outlawing slavery.

Riots rip through the colony, but are subdued by British troops. No other colony has followed South Carolina's lead, but the British response, which results in the burning of Charleston and the death of several hundred people, many of them women and children, stirs sentiment in favor of 'American sovereignty' throughout the South.

Am I Not a Man  - and a Brother?
and a Brother?


June 12

In 1838, the British Parliament passes the Slavery Act, outlawing involuntary servitude throughout the British Empire. Riots erupt in every Southern colony of British North America.

The violence is far worse than that of the Sovereignty Crisis of six years earlier, which, despite the efforts of zealots in South Carolina, had been limited to that colony.

Am I Not a Man
Am I Not a Man  - and a Brother?
and a Brother?


March 5
Overthrown Monarch

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

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

Overthrown Monarch - Charles IV
Charles IV

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



January 1
In 1837, Britain takes possession of Michigan Territory following conclusion of a treaty with native tribes. Native tribes are granted exclusive possession of a large tract of the territory, angering white settlers who had hoped to take possession of all of the territory's land. Native-owned lands are to be incorporated as Detroit Territory; the remainder will become the Crown Colony of Michigan.


February 12

In 1844, Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel addresses the British Parliament regarding the Colonial Reform Act, startling his Conservative colleagues by offering support for it.

Arguing from his experiences in police reform, he observes that the ability of the government to maintain control without excessive use of physical force depends on public support, and "public support itself depends upon the public's sense that it has options for redress of grievances short of defying established authorities".

Prime Minister
Prime Minister - Robert Peel
Robert Peel

Peel observes that both the general colonial revolt of the 1770s and the Southern rebellion of 1838-'41 arose from a sense on the part of those involved that, without representation, they had no such options; as evidence, he reminds his listeners that one of the key slogans of the first rebellion was 'No taxation without representation.'



March 5

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

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

 - Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria


December 25

In 1819, the former King Louis XVI of France dies in exile on the island of Elba, at the age of 65.

He has been an invalid for years, having never really recovered after being badly wounded during an unsuccessful attempt by French royalists to free him from his incarceraation in July of 1810.

 - King Louis XVI
King Louis XVI


March 29

In 1818, the last organized independentista force in Spanish Mexico surrenders, ending a rebellion which had begun in 1810 and which had been encouraged by expatriate survivors of the rebellion in the British colonies four decades earlier, including the notorious agitators John Adams, now living in exile in Cuba, and Thomas Jefferson, currently residing in Versailles.

 - Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson

To the frustration of the British authorities, who have had warrants against Adams and Jefferson since the days of the American rebellion in the mid-1770s, neither man will be punished for his role in the uprising. The brilliant and cultured Jefferson has become a favorite at the court of the Napoleon despite his political agitation, and he is able to persuade the Emperor to order his brother Joseph Bonaparte, who has served as the puppet ruler of Spain since 1810, to keep the Cuban colonial administration from acting against Adams.

Jefferson's continued efforts at political subversion in the name of 'liberty' will, however, cost him following the death of Napoleon and the crowning of his son ten-year-old son Napoleon Francois Joseph Charles Bonaparte, who will reign in name only for years under the regency of Klemens von Metternich, the first Napoleon's feared Prime Minister. Metternich will see to it that the privileges and wealth Jefferson had enjoyed are gradually stripped away, so that by the time of his death in 1826 he will be broke and hounded by creditors.



June 2

In 1845, Arthur MacArthur is born in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In the 1887 Anglo-Spanish War which follows the sinking of the HMS King George IV in the harbor at Santiago, Cuba, MacArthur, by then one of the youngest vice-admirals in the British Navy and the first American ever to hold that rank, will perform heroically, destroying the Spanish fleet at Manila in the Philippine Islands with minimal British loss of life.

Lt-General
Lt-General - Arthur McArthur
Arthur McArthur

He will be knighted in January 1888, following the Spanish surrender.

MacArthur's son Douglas will become a general and play a major role in the Second World War against the so-called 'Axis' nations of France, Germany, Italy and Japan.



September 13
French Emperor

In 1887, the British battleship HMS King George IV explodes and sinks in the harbor at Santiago de Cuba, killing all aboard.

In Britain and its American colonies, the incident ignites a fever for war with Spain.

French Emperor - Napoleon III
Napoleon III

Spanish protestations that it had nothing to do with what it calls with the 'naval accident' are not believed either in England or in America, and the tensions between London and Madrid are carefully nurtured by agents of French Emperor Napoleon III and Germany?s 'Iron Chancellor' Otto von Bismarck. The French and Germans, who have overcome traditional animosities to form an alliance, hope a war will weaken both England and Spain.

It will not work out that way. Britain will achieve a stunning victory over Spain, one even more decisive than that it had achieved in the conflict of the 1840s which followed the Veracruz Incident. The widely touted rearmament Spain had undertaken following its earlier defeat will turn out to have been largely a sham, riddled with corruption and incompetence, which had produced an impressive-looking but ineffectual military force. In the peace treaty, Spain will be forced to cede Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippine Islands and to pay an indemnity amounting to fifty million pounds sterling.

Spain's humiliation will play a role in the rise of ultranationalist political forces in that country which will come to fruition in the rise of the Falangists, who will come to power in the 1930s and make Madrid an ally, though not a formal member, of the so-called 'Axis.'



April 4

In 1845, the first reports reach London of a mysterious, devastating blight attacking the Irish potato crop.

Because wheat, beef and other farm products produced in Ireland are largely taken by absentee English landlords for sale in England, leaving the Irish dependent on the potato for much of their sustenance, there are grim forecasts of famine.

Philosopher
Philosopher - Karl Marx
Karl Marx

An exodus of Irish farmers to Britain's American colonies will follow.

Dissident political writer Karl Marx arrives in New York after being expelled from Belgium by that country's government. He had considered going to London, but had changed his mind after being advised by a friend that the colonies may be more receptive to his ideas.



August 15
Lt-General

In 1864, Arthur MacArthur enters the Howe Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Howe, founded in 1816 and named after Admiral Richard Howe, who had commanded the successful invasion of New York in mid-1776 during the abortive American bid for independence, has become the number-one naval training facility in North America.

Lt-General - Arthur McArthur
Arthur McArthur

MacArthur's decision to join the navy has been a point of contention between him and his father, also named Arthur MacArthur. The elder MacArthur, serving as attache to the royal governor of the Crown Colony of Cheyenne, had wanted his son to enter the army instead, believing that to be a better career move for a son he hopes will follow him into civil service.



January 11

On this day in 1847, the Treaty of Seville concluded, formally ending the war between England and Spain.

Under its terms, Britain will take possession of the Mexican territories of Texas, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Mexico and Alta California. Spain will pay an indemnity of 15 million pounds sterling. Spain will apologize for its seizure of British diplomats. The two nations will agree to resume normal diplomatic relations.

 - Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria

British holdings in North America now extend from coast to coast, encircling the remaining independent Indian Territories. Treaties with the native tribes strictly limit white settlement in the Territories, collectively known to the British as Indiana. However, the Queen's ministers, heeding entreaties from the American colonies, are advising her that these treaties should be amended to allow the construction of rail lines through Indiana and settlements around those lines.



April 3

In 1824, the Franco-British war ends in French defeat, as General Sir Arthur Wellesley accepts the surrender of the last of Napoleon II's armies at Compiegne. Wellesley will be granted a title, first Duke of Wellington, after the victory.

Under the terms of the peace treaty, France is forced to relinquish its claim to Spain - little more than a recognition of reality at this point, with Joseph Bonaparte cowering in Marseilles and Ferdinand VII now securely on the throne.

 - Napoleon II
Napoleon II

It is also obliged to recognize the independence of the Duchy of Warsaw and of the German principalities, including Hannover, seized by the first Napoleon. Napoleon II himself is to abdicate the throne in favor of the 39-year-old Louis Charles Bourbon, second son of King Louis XVI, and will be exiled to the island of Elba, off the coast of Italy.



January 25

In 1848, Gold is discovered in Coloma, Alta California, along the banks of the Rio Americano.

The find touches off a mad scramble of would-be prospectors. The gold-seekers' journey will be arduous.

 - Gold Rush
Gold Rush

The still-ongoing war with the Indiana tribes, who control a vast inland domain, makes a direct passage across the continent out of the question, requiring would-be exploiters of California's riches to take one of two less attractive routes: either through the newly acquired territories of Texas and Nuevo Mexico before swinging up into Alta California, a route soon christened the Golden Turn, or a perilous months-long sea voyage around the tip of South America and up to Alta California's western coast. The land route requires travelers to cross broad expanses of baking desert; the ocean trip exposes them to the risks of storms, accident and disease.



November 30

In 1874, on this day the first prime minister of the United Dominions of America Winston S. Churchill is born, son of Lord Randolph Churchill and an American mother.

An American Lion is Born
Alternative Churchill Career
He will grow up in England, but will emigrate to the American colonies in 1909, following a bitter quarrel with his father. There he will enter politics, becoming active in the movement for North American sovereignty.

Churchill will disagree powerfully with more radical leaders of the movement, who argue for full independence, and in the end his position will carry the day. "If my father had been American and my mother British, instead of the other way round, I might have got here on my own" ~ Churchill's speech to the Joint session of Congress on 26 December 1941With him as its spokesman, the movement will amass increasing support in Britain for granting the North American colonies substantial self-rule.

The "Dominionists," as Churchill's faction is known, will ultimately prevail, but on Sept. 1, 1939, on the eve of what should have been their triumph, the Second World War breaks out, leading Parliament to table the so-called "Dominion Act" until 1946, following the end of hostilities. Churchill will become a world-famous figure for his role in rallying North America against the Axis powers, and the inevitable choice for the first prime minister of the United Dominions of America following the Dominion Acts passage.



March 2

In 1841, the Second American Insurrection [against the British Empire] ends with the capture of the last of its leaders, "provisional president" John Calhoun.

Calhoun CapturedThe South Carolina native is arrested in East Florida while attempting to take passage aboard a ship bound for Cuba. He will be executed for treason a month later.

Disorganized rebel bands will continue to operate throughout the formerly slaveholding South for years, often under banners based on the so-called "Eagle and Stars" adopted as the flag of the "United Commonwealths of America" declared by the rebels. This emblem featured an eagle with wings outspread, one claw clutching a set of arrows and the other an olive branch, surrounded by a wreath of stars, one for each commonwealth of the Union, on a blue field.



July 1

In 1776, reacting to Thomas Jefferson's refusal to excise a paragraph condemning the slave trade in the proposed declaration of independence from Great Britain under debate in the Continental Congress, the delegations of South Carolina and Georgia vote "no" on its adoption. Since it had earlier been agreed that adoption required a unanimous "yes" vote, the resolution fails.

Collapse of the Revolt by Eric LippsFollowing the vote, the Georgia and South Carolina delegations walk out. Other Southern delegates follow soon after, causing the Continental Congress to disintegrate. News of the political disaster soon reaches the armies in the field and, predictably, ignites a wave of desertions. By the end of September, the Continental Army has been reduced to disorganized bands of guerrillas.

The leaders of the revolution find themselves forced to flee; Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin arrive in Paris in December and seek the protection of King Louis XVI. With the collapse of the revolt, British control tightens, backed up by a huge infusion of fresh troops sent to "restore order" in the rebellious colonies. One of their assignments is to identify and hunt down remaining "rebels".

Before the year is out, the so-called Order Police, a paramilitary organization charged with suppressing dissent, will have been established, with offices in every colonial capital.



February 5

In 1844, debate begins in British Parliament over the Colonial Reform Act.

Championed by Daniel Webster of the Massachusetts colonial legislature (pictured), the Act proposes that the American colonies be granted representation in the House of Commons.

Colonial Reform Act of 1844Webster points out that a battle cry of the original American rebellion was "taxation without representation" and asks Parliament to pass the Act "in the interests alike of common fairness and the national tranquility, which can only be fostered by a sense that colonist and home islander alike share common rights as Englishmen".

Peel observes that both the general colonial revolt of the 1770s and the Southern rebellion of 1838-41 arose from a sense on the part of those involved that, without representation, they had no such options; as evidence, he reminds his listeners that one of the key slogans of the first rebellion was "No taxation without representation".
This post is an article from the Liberty Fails thread.



January 24

In 1965, Winston S. Churchill, first prime minister of the United Dominions of America, dies in the UDA's capital of Georgetown, Virginia at the age of 90.

Continental Congress Collapses by Eric LippsChurchill, son of Lord Randolph Churchill and the American-born Miranda Jacobson Churchill, had been born in England but had moved to America in 1909 following a bitter quarrel with his father. In the dominions, he had become involved with the sovereignty movement. Quarreling bitterly with the so-called "Separationist" faction, which sought complete independence for Britain's North American possessions, he rose to leadership of the rival "Dominionists".

By 1939, under his direction, the sovereignty movement had been poised for victory--but on Sept. 1 of that year, the Second World War broke out, pitting Britain, France, Italy and Japan against the Quadrilateral Alliance of imperial Germany, Ottoman Turkey, Spain and Austria-Hungary, leading Parliament to table the Dominion Act. Its passage after the war created the UDA, which, while remaining nominally subject to London, was in practical fact far larger, more prosperous and more militarily powerful than the mother country.

The story of America's rise to sovereignty and the parallel development in India was vividly chronicled in the 1975 BBC miniseries "The Jewels in the Crown".

Under the UDA's constitution, Churchill was eligible only for a single seven-year term as prime minister, subject to special elections prior to his term's end. No such elections occurred, and on April 30, 1953, Churchill stepped down. He would remain active in politics, becoming an outspoken advocate of "containment" of Tsar Nicholas III's expansionist Russia and of a "yellow peril" view of the Japanese Empire. Churchill's influence was crucial in securing American assistance for Delhi in the Indo-Japanese War, which was ongoing at the time of his death.



April 30

In 1946, on this day Winston S. Churchill (pictured) is sworn in as first Prime Minister of the United Dominions of America. He will preside over a domain extending from the Arctic Circle to the Rio Grande and including Cuba.

Fruition of a Dream by Eric LippsThe UDA's nominal subordination to London will in practice amount to little more than continuing to accept the British pound as legal tender alongside the United Dominions' own. Theoretically, the UDA is to answer to the King and Parliament; in reality, it is strong enough, both economically and militarily, to say no to London and make it stick.

This reality is not lost on London, which dreads the prospect of having to enforce its will militarily. Incoming British prime minister Clement Attlee privately advises King Edward VIII that it will probably be necessary to treat the UDA as, de facto if not quite de jure, a sovereign nation. The King reluctantly concurs, but mourns being the monarch to in effect lose so large a portion of the British Empire. Attlee responds that he should console himself that the process has been underway for many years, and is not the fault of any failing on his part.

American nationalists celebrate throughout the UDA at the coming to fruition of a dream they have nurtured since the uprising of the 1770s. That attempt at secession from the British Empire had fallen apart when rebel leader Thomas Jefferson refused to excise a passage condemning the African slave trade from his proposed declaration of independence and the insurgents' "Continental Congress" broke apart over the issue. A second rebellion, launched by slaveholding Southerners after Britain outlawed slavery throughout the Empire in 1838, had likewise failed. But the power of the nominally subject North American colonies had grown steadily, and the terrible generation of the 1914-1942 World War, when Britain, Spain and Japan had battled for their lives against Imperial Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the totalitarian republics of France and Russia had only strengthened North America while badly weakening the Home Islands. At the same time, North American awareness of the colonies' strength had combined with a growing resentment of being ruled, however loosely, by a distant monarch to revive the movement for independence. At the close of the war, Americans had been in a position to press London for sovereignty, and Churchill, whose mother had been American and who had left England in 1913 following a bitter dispute with his father Lord Randolph Churchill, had been among the most eloquent and forceful advocates for the cause.



February 29

In 1808, the "Leap Year Day Massacre": American settlers in the Ohio Territory are attacked by hostile Indian tribes.

Leap Year Day MassacreMany are killed. When news of the slaughter reaches colonial authorities, British troops are dispatched to "restore order" and avenge the settlers' deaths. Dozens of Indian villages will be burned to the ground and their inhabitants killed. In the aftermath, the British will repudiate the tacit understanding which had existed between them and the tribes that white settlement would be restricted and the natives' sovereignty respected.

Ohio will be formally organized as a British colonial province, and the offending tribes' lands will be confiscated.

The result of this action will be a series of bloody so-called "Indian Wars" which will seriously harm relations with what had been friendly tribes in Ohio and the neighboring Michigan Territory. As one result, British negotiations to acquire formal sovereignty over Michigan will collapse. They will not be resumed for more than twenty years, after the deaths of several key tribal chiefs.



June 20

In 1837, following the death of England's King William IV, Princess Victoria becomes Queen of England. Queen Victoria Crowned by Eric Lipps
She will be the first British queen to rule in her own right since the death of Queen Anne in 1714.
Celebrations of the new queen's coronation are held in London, Dublin, New York and Philadelphia. In Charleston, South Carolina, however, a parade in honor of the event is called off after threats are made by a previously unknown group, the Knights of the Fiery Cross, which declares its opposition to measures currently being debated in Parliament to abolish slavery throughout the British Empire. "We refuse to recognize the legitimacy of any government which would tell us, against our will, to abandon an institution which God has ordained as the proper relation between the white and Negro races. Anyone who chooses to celebrate the authority of such a government must know that they declare themselves our enemy, and that we shall not hesitate to resort to force to defend our way of life".
Resentment of the growing movement for abolition has been building for years, and the KFC's threat of "resorting to force" sparks fears of violence, prompting the cancellation of the planned gala in South Carolina's colonial capital. A sweep of the city by the Order Police and the American branch of Scotland Yard fails, however, to apprehend any members of the group. It is suspected that ordinary citizens are protecting them.



July 26

In 1830, England's King George IV (pictured) dies. His younger brother William will succeed to the throne as William IV. Mourning ceremonies for the deceased king and coronation celebrations for his successor will be held throughout the British Empire.

One of the first tasks undertaken by the new king is a re-evaluation of colonial policy in North America. As part of that effort, King William will confer with Parliament and with colonial authorities regarding what he refers to as a "reorganization of colonial law enforcement".
Reorganization of Colonial Law Enforcement by Eric LippsThis is widely interpreted as hinting at the downsizing or even elimination of the Order Police, whose red-uniformed officers have dealt harshly with political subversion in the American colonies since the OP's establishment following the rebellion of the 1770s. The Order Police have always been unpopular with the colonists, for obvious reasons, but in recently years they have become increasingly so with the British public as stories of some of their actions have circulated. In addition, the OP's escalating cost, as British colonization extends across the continent and new contingents of Order Police must be created and maintained, has become a sore point in Parliament.

Such concerns will increase pressures to establish a professional civilian police agency in the colonies. London's Metropolitan Police, whose Scotland Yard headquarters opened in 1829, will be suggested as a model. To the distress of conservatives, it will be recommended that any such agency be staffed mostly by Americans, though it is to be answerable to London.



July 1

In 1838, at a hastily convened convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, six Southern colonies - Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia - pass a resolution declaring themselves "free and independent States". The Raleigh resolution borrows language from the Declaration of Philadelphia defeated by Southern veto exactly 62 years earlier.Southern Rebellion of 1838 by Eric Lipps

The Southerners proclaim themselves the United Commonwealths of America and declare fiery pro-slavery speaker John Calhoun (pictured) provisional president. British troops move to quell "Southern rebellion".

Southerners, who have long feared that the Crown might someday abolish their cherished institution of Negro slavery, rise en masse. Northerners, remembering how Southern intransigence had doomed the earlier attempt to secure independence for all the colonies, watch from the sidelines, ignoring Southern appeals to "our fellow Americans".

In August, inspired by sensational reports of British atrocities, the colonies of East and West Florida, Burgoyne and Louisiana will join the rebellion. On the eighth of that month, however, Massachusetts becomes the first colony to formally offer its support to the Crown to suppress the rebellion. It will be followed in short order by all of the colonies north of Virginia and Maryland, sparking expectations that the conflict will be short-lived. It will not be; major military operations will not end until March 1841, and guerrilla activity will continue for years thereafter under the aegis of a shadowy organization known as the Cyclops Legion.



May 25

In 1765, Patrick Henry spoke before the Virginia House of Burgesses in praise of the British Parliament?s defeat of the Stamp Act.

The Defeat of the Stamp Act by Eric LippsThe first direct tax to be levied on the American colonies, it would have required that all newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, commercial bills, advertisements, and other papers issued in the colonies bear a stamp.

Although the revenue to be raised from the stamps was earmarked for colonial defense, the proposal was hugely unpopular in America, where it was seen as a crippling blow to all sorts of ordinary activities, from the publication of newspapers to such legal documents as birth and marriage certificates.

The defeat of the Stamp Act was a serious blow to the ministry of George Grenville, which contributed to his fall from power of July 10, 1765 following a dispute with King George III on a separate matter involving the composition of the regency council.



July 5

In 1845, on this day a mob surrounded the British embassy in Veracruz, trapping its entire staff inside.

At the same time, in Madrid, a note is delivered to the British embassy declaring the ambassador there, and his entire staff, personae non gratae and giving them forty-eight hours to leave the country.

The Velacruz IncidentWhen news of these events reaches London, the match in timing fuels suspicions that the Spanish government orchestrated the assault on the Veracruz embassy. Diplomatic notes are dispatched to the capitals of both Spain and Mexico, warning that unless the mob is driven from Britain?s embassy, "the gravest consequences shall result". It is an ultimatum: free the embassy, or face war. Additional communications are sent to British colonial authorities in America, advising them to ready troops for military action against Mexico.

It is the opening shot in a war between England and Spain which will last until January of 1847 and end in Spain's loss of a large chunk of northern Mexico, a harsh blow to the once-mighty Spanish Empire.



June 29

In 1767, on this day the so-called "Townshend Acts" were voted down in the British Parliament.

Originated by Charles Townshend and designed to collect revenue from Britain's American colonists by imposing customs duties on imported glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea, the acts were rejected as likely to cause even more resistance than had the recently-repealed Stamp Act.

Townshend Acts by Eric LippsFrustrated partisans of the Acts demanded to know, as one of them put it in a letter to a friend shortly after the vote, "How, if it be barred that we collect monies from the Colonies in duties for Trade, or by direct Taxation, we can be expected to provide for the Defence, of those selfsame Colonies? Yet if we do not, their Agitators will cry that we have Abandoned them, to the French and to the Savages which do infest that Continent.

One might almost think they consider themselves, an independent Country, yet demand Tribute from England in the form of Protection from Attack".



May 22

In 1845, the Veracruz Incident occurred on this day.

Velacruz Incident by Eric LippsA British diplomat is assaulted by a mob after making a disparaging remark about the Catholic Church. Britain demands an apology first from Spanish colonial authorities in Mexico City, and, when none is received, from Madrid itself.

The response of His Most Catholic Majesty Philip IV, who insists his government has no need to apologize to "schismatics" who have insulted "the True Faith," creates a diplomatic uproar and, when made public, inspires anti-Catholic riots in England and America.

The incident will snowball into a full-fledged crisis when the Spanish colonial government seizes Britain's Veracruz embassy and transports its staff under guard to Mexico City. The continued refusal of both the colonial administration and the Spanish government either to release what Queen Victoria refers to as "our hostage envoys" or to apologize either for the original incident or for the diplomats' seizure. Spanish excuses that the embassy staff has been placed in "protective custody" to prevent their being killed by mobs are viewed as transparent frauds, particularly in light of King Philip's inflammatory comments.



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.