Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 1876 – Grant Extends Indian Reservation Deadline

In a move that prevented open war across the Northern Plains, President Ulysses S. Grant issued an executive order extending the deadline set previously for all Native Americans to return to their reservations. The initial date for the deadline had been carefully calculated two months before by Grant and his generals Philip Sheridan, commander of the Division of the Missouri, and George Crook, commander of the Department of the Platte, to be unreachable by the Indians, who had settled into their winter quarters. When the Indians did not move (General Sheridan noted that the Indians would not move no matter the date, though Lakota leaders had already decided they would travel to the agencies that spring), they would march troopers into the Indian camps and force them into submissive positions on the reservations.

The matter at the core was gold. White encroachment on Indian lands had gone on for decades, and the Indians had gradually migrated and dealt with the growing White settlement. Several wars had raged, but none were as large as the surprise attack Sheridan and Crook were planning to clear the Indians quickly and effectively out of the Black Hills, where gold had been discovered by the Custer Expedition in 1874. A gold rush was in full sway and expected to boom. The Federal government had ended stopping trespassers onto the Sioux hunting grounds as an initial part of the plan and offered to pay the tribes $25,000 and reservations south in Indian Territory. Spotted Tail summarized the feelings of the Sioux leaders who had traveled to Washington with, “You speak of another country, but it is not my country; it does not concern me, and I want nothing to do with it. I was not born there.”

Yet, the land was needed both to open for the glut of would-be miners following the Panic of 1873 as well as for railroad projects. Grant had previously reversed the objectives of the Federal government, which had been anti-Indian since its founding. Johnson’s order to General Sheridan years before about the Cheyenne and Arapaho had been, “I want you to go ahead, kill and punish the hostiles, capture and destroy the ponies.” Grant later confronted Congress on the policies, saying, “Wars of extermination are demoralizing and wicked” and “A system which looks to the extinction of a race is too horrible for a nation to adopt without entailing upon itself the wrath of all Christendom.” Despite his advances in upholding treaties, in his second term the question of the Black Hills had turned him to the same policies he had derided.

In late January, a telegram from the US Indian Agent at Standing Rock reached the president, saying that his requests to extend the deadline had been repeatedly denied despite that travel in the midst of winter was impossible. He noted that any God-fearing, decent man would be reasonable rather than start a war, and Grant felt his spark of conscious. The Whiskey Ring scandal that had implicated his secretary Orville E. Babcock had destroyed Grant’s popularity among Republicans, and he decided that acting in favor of the Indians could not do any more damage, saying famously, “If I’m going to be unpopular, I might as well do the right thing.”

In spring of 1876, the majority of the Indians came to their reservations as had been agreed. Sheridan and Crook were allowed to mop up the stragglers and then ordered to maintain some kind of peace amid the Indians and the swarms of prospectors centering on Deadwood. Methods of herding the remaining buffalo were organized by the Sioux and government agents, who finally were able to work a deal for the Northern Pacific Railroad giving the Indians a toll based on transport. When the gold began to give out, the prospectors deserted, and the Sioux gradually came back into control over much of the area. Conservationist Theodore Roosevelt hunted the buffalo in 1893, and his political actions back East helped give funding to rebuilding the Northern Buffalo Herd, which had been barely saved from the extinction that had struck the Southern.

Despite decades more of politics and needless violence, the White and Native Americans gradually learned to live alongside one another, perhaps best exemplified by the peaceful demonstrations at Wounded Knee in 1890 where invited government officials understood the severity of breaking up the Great Sioux Reservation and determined to honor the previous treaty.




In reality, the request for extension was firmly denied. The Great Sioux War began, leading to nearly double the casualties of American soldiers as Sioux (such as in the disastrous Battle of Little Bighorn), but firmly establishing the US Army’s control over the Indians. The buffalo were systematically eradicated, leaving the Native Americans no choice but to depend upon the Federal Agencies for supplies. Policies of assimilation continued for decades on the reservations, especially after the cultural misunderstanding of the Ghost Dance that led to the Massacre at Wounded Knee.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 30, 1835 – President Jackson Assassinated

Just after leaving the East Portico of the United States Capitol, President Andrew Jackson, twice-elected to the nation’s highest office, was gunned down by the deranged English housepainter Richard Lawrence. Jackson had fought in the War of 1812 and in numerous altercations with Indians as well as participating in thirteen duels, but now his luck seemed to have run out. Lawrence stepped from behind a column with two pistols and fired them into Jackson’s back on the unseasonably dry winter’s day. Reportedly, Jackson, when shot, turned, shouted, and charged at Lawrence before he fell dead.

Lawrence was apprehended by the crowd, including Congressman Davy Crockett. He was taken into custody and questioned first by police, then by doctors, whom he told that he had a great deal of money coming from the Federal Government, but was held up by Jackson. Lawrence went on to explain that he would use the money to retake his place as king of England as he was, in fact, Richard III, who had died three-and-a-half centuries earlier. When taken to trial that April, Lawrence was quickly deemed not guilty by reason of insanity, but prosecutor Francis Scott Key and the many mourners of Jackson would not let the matter rest. The trial went to the Supreme Court, where a precedent of execution for the homicidally insane would be set. Lawrence was hanged that winter, and mental asylums around the nation were purged of those deemed “dangerous to mankind.” The deplorable conditions of the insane would continue for decades, prompting reformer Dorothea Dix to champion for the rights of “harmlessly mad.” In her early work, she had made attempts to help all those mentally troubled, but the stigma in America ran too deeply to overcome. The policy would continue through the early twentieth century where gas chambers became popular among asylums before giving way to the experimental lobotomies and drugs in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Just as national mourning turned to rage at the insane, it also poured out against Jackon’s enemies in politics. It was discovered that Senator George Poindexter of Mississippi had hired Lawrence some months before, and he was brought under charges of conspiracy. Poindexter was eventually declared innocent, but his political career would never recover. More notably, Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, former vice-president under Jackson, was also suspected. Though he testified to his innocence on the Senate floor, he was not reelected in 1838 and eventually moved to Texas. The new Whig Party, who had formed in 1833 opposing Jackson’s assurance of Federal power over nullification, became crippled by the desertion of Henry Clay and soon ceased to be a credible political unit.

Vice-President Martin Van Buren assumed the presidency and won his own election in 1836 and again in 1840 amid chaos of the border war with Britain dubbed the Canadian War brought about by the Caroline affair and the Pork and Beans War, which would ultimately lead to a divided Canadian republic, British colony, and substantial gains in the Pacific Northwest for the Americans. He pushed for Jacksonian ideals, many of which he helped create, suppressing bids for a national bank and instead offering Free Soil and limiting slavery in the territories in aid of the poor White. Polk continued the Jacksonian dynasty with war against Mexico, expanding Manifest Destiny in the Southwest.

After fifteen troubled years, the United States seemed to settle in the 1850s. The economy rebounded with its war-speckled depression over, and immigration filled up the new territories gained. Questions over slavery still boiled, but the matter had been largely settled by legally maintaining the status quo and refusing expansion. Slavery would gradually die out as it became economically infeasible in the face of the growing Industrial Revolution and Abolitionist movement. The question of secession, of course, had been dealt with by Jackson during the Nullification Crisis in his famed “Proclamation to the People of South Carolina” stating, “Secession, like any other revolutionary act, may be morally justified by the extremity of oppression; but to call it a constitutional right, is confounding the meaning of terms, and can only be done through gross error.”

While the United States enjoyed great prosperity over the latter half of the nineteenth century thanks to the strong base of Common Man economics built by Jacksonians, its laissez-faire policies would become a bed of corruption leading to fresh outbreaks of revolution as the twentieth century dawned.




In reality, the weather had been wet, and Lawrence’s pistols had misfired due to moisture in the powder. Reportedly, Jackson beat Lawrence with his cane until both were restrained. Lawrence would be deemed insane and committed to institutions until his death in 1861. Jackson would die in 1845 with his Democratic ideals challenged on numerous fronts.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January 29, 1523 – Faber Out-Debates Zwingli

Central Europe looked to be a smoldering mass of corrupt indulgences and humanism, needing only a spark to explode into revolution. In the Germanies, former monk Martin Luther had nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church, been excommunicated without much of a flinch, and stood before the Diet of Worms refusing to recant. Farther south in Switzerland, a similar surge of reform was welling in Zurich, where layman pastor Huldrych Zwingli preached to his congregation against the corruption of the Church.

Unlike Luther, who had served as an Augustinian monk against his father’s wishes, Zwingli had avoided monasticism despite the invitation of the Dominicans because of his father and uncle’s disapproval. Instead, he attended university at Vienna and Basel, finishing his master’s, and being ordained in Konstanz in 1506. He moved fairly often, continuing his learning and becoming disgusted with the politics of church and mercenaries that seemed to pervade Switzerland. Finally he settled in Zurich in 1519, where he began to diverge from proper Church teachings. He condemned veneration of the saints, described monks as decadent, affirmed that unbaptised children were not damned, and questioned tithing, hellfire, and excommunication. Zwingli and others petitioned for an end to clergy celibacy, and Zwingli himself married Anna Reinhard three months before their first child was born.

The petition caught the attention of the bishop of Zurich, who called upon the civil authorities to uphold order. Zwingli declared the Church corrupt, and the city council became caught in the middle. Hoping to clear the air before the Swiss Diet marched on Zurich to force restoration of order, the council invited the bishop and the unorthodox to a Disputation. The bishop sent Johann Faber and a delegation while Zwingli came himself, armed with his Schlussreden summarizing his theological views. Faber was forbidden to discuss theology with laymen, and so he had been unprepared for such deep discussion. Initially he decided to appeal only to the authority of the Church, but Zwingli’s words pressed him to reply. In an hours-long impromptu speech, he addressed each one of Zwingli’s sixty-seven articles and explained or discredited all of them.

Zwingli and his followers were shocked. The large crowd that had gathered spread the word of the failures of the “reformers,” and support for Zwingli fell throughout the city. He attempted to reclaim his place by holding communion simply on grounds that the Eucharist was commemorative rather than substantial. The political gamble would prove a loss, and the tide of reformation would turn against him as the northern Swiss came to agree with reformed teachings by the Church. As the Peasants’ War guided by the Anabaptists toward a Christian commonwealth went sour in Germany, another huge loss for Protestants sank its holdings in central Europe. Luther had separated himself from the Peasants’ War, but his followers lost numbers as the writings of Johann Faber became more convincing.

Faber would go on to revitalize the Church in his new method of openly discussing theology. Ideals from Lutheranism such as the free reading of the Bible were taken and adapted toward a more unified Church standing. While indulgences would fall out of fashion, the Church would continue its nearly unquestioned position as guide of Christendom accepting petitions and minor reforms. Considered by many the instigator of what perilous times may have come, humanist Desiderius Erasmus was gradually eroded from the collective mind and replaced with Faber’s sense of condemnation for heretics as outlined in his Malleus Haereticorum.

Faber was also instrumental in organizing the New Crusade against the Turks in the late 1520s, where his delegation to England convinced Henry VIII that time and prayer was needed for a male heir, proving correct in the birth of Henry IX in 1533, though at the cost of his beloved wife Catherine’s life.




In reality, Johann Faber did not argue theologically, and Zwingli won his right to preach freely. The Second Disputation followed nine months later where Zwingli again rose in power. As Zurich and other Swiss cities diverged from the rest of the confederation, war became inevitable. Zwingli gathered allies and forged a defensive army to protect the right to preach, which led to the Wars of Kappel, where Zurich would be among those killed in the disastrous battle against Bern and its Five States. The Protestant right to preach would be fought over again in 1656 and finally won in 1712 in the Wars of Vilmergen. Faber, meanwhile, would go on to be chaplain to Ferdinand I of Austria, for whom he would unsuccessfully campaign for a crusade, and Bishop of Vienna, where he would write many works opposing the growing Reformation.

Friday, January 28, 2011

January 28, 1902 – Carnegie Institution for Science (in Man) Founded

Famed industrialist Andrew Carnegie founded many institutions to promote education, art, free libraries, and technological development. Most famed would be his Institute for Science in Washington, D.C., to which he would give, along with $10,000,000 in registered bonds yielding five percent interest per year, the instruction, “that the objects in the corporation shall be to encourage in the broadest and most liberal manner investigation, research, and discovery, and the application of knowledge to the improvement of man.”

The twenty-four trustees on the board would determine toward what the investigation and research would be, and, soon after the endowment, an argument broke out over the Scotsman's choice of the word “man.” First President Daniel Coit Gilman (later to be founder of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) held that the word should be taken literally to mean the betterment of the human body. Others thought more figuratively, expecting the institutional grants to go toward more widespread sciences such as astronomy and materials science. It was rumored that Gilman demanded those who disagree ask Carnegie for a clarification, which no one did for fear it would insult his accent or make them look foolish. Whatever the reality, Gilman eventually won the argument, and the dedicated sciences toward the improvement of humans began.

In their first years, the Institute worked with research in determining the proper activity and diet of individuals. Healthy consumption of eggs and milk in prisons outlined the need for what would become known as Vitamin D as well as the general knowledge of vegetables and fruits opposing rich foods, leading to problems such as diabetes and gout. They duplicated much of the research of Dutch scientist Christiaan Eijkman performed in the 1880s on animals and began a mutually beneficial discourse with British doctor Frederick Hopkins. Building from the research, the Institute helped to design numerous meal programs for schools and workers across the nation, along with publishing articles to help families live their healthiest. Production of pills and oils containing the necessary vitamins and minerals

National health improved overall with statistical visits to doctors much decreased. In 1907, Carnegie gave the Institute an additional $2,000,000 to keep up the good work, and they launched into further programs. Over the course of the next decades, the Institute would merge with the Eugenics Record Office of New York and employ numerous anthropologists in determining how to cure hereditary disease. The growth of science in the Netherlands and Nazi Germany found another great connection for human improvement, and the Institute worked diligently to assist in the development of testosterone for medical use. In 1944, with the discovery of the source of much of the experimental date in concentration camps, the Institute fell into a public relations nightmare. President Margaret Sanger (who also served as chairperson of the Birth Control Council of America) handled the situation carefully, denouncing Nazi extremes while upholding what might be done for future generations regardless of race.

Since World War II, the Institute has been instrumental in generating the modern cocktail of vitamins, steroids, physical education, and dietary control that has benefitted man. While the average male height in 1900 was approximately 5’8”, it is today 6’3”, with the typical time of running a mile at around five and a half minutes. The Institute continues many projects in research for the future, working to increase longevity toward a lifespan of 200 years and to cure cancers and genetic weaknesses through viral therapies. Of course, with such a surge of improved humans, population control has become an integral matter, and sterilization toxins are known to be placed in water-systems worldwide with reversal treatments available primarily to those in the First World.




In reality, Carnegie's instruction concluded, "to the improvement of mankind." While dabbling in eugenics during its popular period between the wars, CIW ended its Department of Genetics in 1944. The CIW researches numerous fields such as plant molecular biology, developmental biology, global ecology, astronomy, astrobiology, and many others.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 27, 1593 – Bruno Escapes the Inquisition

Giordano Bruno was once a highly admired Dominican monk with numerous publications on the topic of memory, so approved that Pope Pius V had accepted the dedication of one of his earliest works. As he continued in his studies and philosophy, however, Bruno became increasingly heretical toward the accepted dogma of the time. Initially, he simply read banned works in curiosity, understanding their principles while upholding the hegemony of the Church. He then delved deeper, creating defenses of disagreements such as those of Arian about the lower position of Christ under God and an increasingly pantheistic view of the Universe. These outrages and the discovery of his hidden copy of a banned work by Erasmus would eventually cause such uproar that he would flee his monastery and cast off his habit.

Bruno's life became one of wandering, trying to find a place where a free thinker may exist. He journeyed to the modern city of Venice, then to Padua, where he took up his monasticism again, though not joining a monastery, and came to Geneva, where rumor holds he cavorted with Calvinism. Later, he traveled to France, where he studied and taught at Toulouse before coming to Paris under the patronage and protection of the nobles. All during this time, he wrote and thought and learned, writing essays and comedies about the way ideas and memories work. Attached to the French ambassador to England, he came to London and joined new circles of intelligentsia and began his most controversial works on cosmology, describing a universe that not only included the Earth revolving around the Sun, but the Sun being only one of the infinite stars beyond. During anti-French riots, Bruno left London with the ambassador and began wandering again, teaching in German universities and being excommunicated by the Lutherans. Finally he returned to Italy, hoping to teach in Padua (but losing his chair of mathematics to Galileo) and tutoring privately in Venice to Giovanni Mocenigo. When Bruno announced he would be moving on, Mocenigo denounced him to the Venetian Inquisition. He defended his trial well in Venice, noting that many of the accusations were against points he had made only in philosophical pondering and did not believe. His few undeniable heresies against the dogma of the Church, however, prompted Rome to ask for his transfer, where he may well have been executed as an example of the increasing questioning of Church cosmology.

While being transferred, Bruno was asked to escape by a mutual friend sent by John Dee. The famous English philosopher and Hermetic had never met Bruno, but the two had shared much fascination with the supernatural, and Dee had taken up several of Bruno's works on the mind in his library. Dee had done his own travels to Poland and the Continent, where he had lectured for several courts before finally returning to England to find his library looted. Looking to rebuild, he sought out Bruno's works and found that the monk/philosopher/scientist had gone to Venice after attending the Frankfurt Book Fair. Dee sent a letter and money to invite him back to England. When found in distress in Italy, the message was expanded as an invitation to flee. Bruno initially felt that fleeing would be a false turn for views he felt so true that he would be willing to burn at the stake for them, but he was persuaded on descriptions of Dee's desire to work together (though Dee himself was only looking for new copies of Bruno's books).

Nonetheless, slipping out under the unwatchful eyes of bribed guards, Bruno took a ship from Venice to London, where he traveled by land to Manchester. Dee and Bruno struck up a strong friendship as Dee had with seer Edward Kelley (before the latter had told Dee that the angel Uriel had commanded they share wives), discussing cosmology and building upon each other's works in the occult and signs. While generally disliked by the faculty and administration, Dee acted as Warden of Christ's College and gave Bruno a chair in mathematics as well as a later position in what would become psychology. Building a unique curriculum and acting as a magnet for controversial thinkers all over Europe, Dee would transform Manchester into one of the most advanced centers of thinking in Europe. Over the next century, men such as Bacon and Newton would instill great new philosophy, methods, and technology into reality, such as frozen foods for storage, substantial memory techniques, focused light for heating and war, and the capture of steam for work, ushering in the Industrial Revolution circa 1690.




In reality, Bruno was handed over to Rome and underwent a seven-year trial. He refused to recant in whole, holding many of his ideals (some of which would be scientifically proven over the next centuries) as fact. Bruno offered a partial recantation and appealed to Pope Clement VII, but he was turned over to the Roman authorities and burned at the stake on February 17, 1600. His trial would be seen again a generation later in Galileo’s trial where science was again halted by dogma. It would be another 289 years before Bruno would be recognized with a monument upon the spot he was executed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 26, 1788 – Prisoners Overthrow Guards in New South Wales

With the loss of Georgia in the Rebellion of the American Colonies, Britain’s so-far-successful experiment in penal colonies as buffers to foreign expansion had been cut short. With prisons overcrowded by debtors and petty criminals, a new plan was launched for a penal colony in the far-off New South Wales, which was also meagerly claimed by the Dutch as New Holland. On May 13, 1787, the First Fleet set sail from England with 772 convicts and a few marines commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip, who was to be the first governor of the colony. They would arrive at Botany Bay in late January of 1788, which would prove a grim reality to the glorious description Captain James Cook had given of it. This would prove the first sign that the attempt at colonization would be doomed.

While the rest of the fleet was stuck in the bay due to bad winds, Phillip and others explored for a better site, coming upon Sydney Cove. On January 26, disembarking from the HMS Supply, Phillip and some of his officers and marines came ashore to claim the land officially. While they were gone, however, the convicts who were allowed on deck to watch suddenly broke free and overwhelmed the guards. Phillip and the others tried to storm the ship and return order, but the convicts armed themselves from the armory and subdued the soldiers, putting them in the same chains that had once held the thieves.

Back in Botany Bay, the remaining British ships met with a small French fleet under the comte de Lapérouse that had been sent as a scientific expedition by Louis XVI. While the French explored the bay for specimens, the British gradually made their way past the rocks and to Sydney, where they would be liberated by the escaped convicts one by one over the course of the 26th. The Battle of Sydney would be the first altercation of the bloody Colony Days in what would become known as Australia. The thieves formed into something of a mass-gang and built a rugged colony using the goods and supplies from the ships. Phillip and his officers, meanwhile, were handed over to the French, who were to return them to Britain with the message that the colony was independent soil. Lapérouse complied begrudgingly, carrying the extra men with him as he continued his expedition, which was also ill fated. The French ships would ultimately wreck near Vanikoro Island, where their fate would be unknown until Irishman Peter Dillon’s expedition in 1826.

The early days of Australia would be plagued with murder, debauchery, and lawlessness. As illness, specifically scurvy, settled in, the colonists began to organize more peacefully under James Ruse, who traded extensively with the locals and established farming. Rumor spread about the fate of the colony, but it was unconfirmed as none of the ships returned to port. It was word enough, however, to attract the notice of Fletcher Christian and his mutineers who joined their ranks after wandering aimlessly from their deposing of Captain William Bligh. Shortly thereafter, the Second Fleet from Britain arrived, whose luck had been even worse since their transport by ex-slavers had given the voyage a 26% death rate. Christian, who had seen the despicable treatment of his own men and now stood even more horrified by the slavers, rallied the New South Wales Corps to desert, and Major Grose returned to England with the empty transport ships.

Parliament and the Navy began to prepare an expedition to re-conquer the colony, but war with Republican France suddenly interrupted the planning in 1791. Led by Christian and regulated by the wayward marines, Sydney became a vibrant pirate town, working as a magnet for deserters from first the Republican and Napoleonic Wars and thriving on an illegal rum trade. They made political contact with the United States of America as well as Napoleon, asking for protective treaties, but neither would officially recognize the colony. An expedition by the aged Vice-Admiral Bligh launched in 1814 to take Sydney, but Christian and his men would fight off the Royal Navy. Bligh would die shortly after the battered ships returned to India to be refit.

The victory would be short-lived, however, as a larger British fleet would overwhelm the colony in 1817. Many of the convicts and pirates would escape into the Outback or open sea while many others were caught or executed. Christian and other ringleaders were hanged for treason, and the settlements were burned. Australia would be gradually colonized again but in limited numbers until the discovery of gold in the 1850s. Gold rushes followed, filling the land with a new breed of settler that would make Australia into the highly profitable though notoriously most devastated ecologies in the world.




In reality, the convicts under Governor Arthur Phillip were treated practically as equals, gradually building up a viable colony as he pressed for an agricultural base. William Bligh would serve as Fourth Governor of New South Wales while his mutinous crew under Fletcher Christian would disappear to the mismapped Pitcairn Island, out of touch with the outside world until 1808. After the Rum Rebellion against Bligh in 1808, Australia would be under military rule, establishing a rigid foundation upon which the explosive growth of its gold rushes in the 1850s would be built.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25, 1787 – Daniel Shays Waits to take Springfield Armory

In the economic turmoil after the American Revolution, many of the most valiant fighters for freedom suffered long after the war ended. Daniel Shays was a laborer who had joined the Continental Army, fighting at battles such as Bunker Hill and victory at Saratoga. After being wounded, he resigned and left still unpaid. Upon arriving home, he found himself in court for unpaid debts. He was hardly alone; debtor's prison and courts had pursued hundreds of poor former soldiers in Massachusetts alone. Meanwhile, judges, lawyers, and wealthy merchants in Boston were making fortunes as the young nation grew, controlling specie in gold and silver as inflation made the poor poorer yet.

Shays met with other farmers and laborers, and they began to organize into a new revolutionary army. Numbers grew and altercations began as the masses fought against the bourgeois, who had confirmed power through the Revolution by pushing out the British. Governor John Hancock, famous signer of the Declaration of Independence, had suppressed riots, but local militias were losing support. The new governor James Bowdoin decided to take serious action. Leading wealthy Boston merchants funded a new 3,000-man militia to be commanded by General Benjamin Lincoln.

The militia marched toward Springfield in January, where Shays and Luke Day commanded armies of revolutionaries who had shut down the local courts from prosecuting debtors. The local 900-man armory headed by General William Shepard was under siege, and Secretary of War Henry Knox had ordered him not to use the weapons inside as it required Congressional approval. Shays sent a message to Day suggesting that they attack before Lincoln's army arrived and seize the weaponry, but Day replied that he needed another day to organize. Shays begrudgingly agreed, spending the rest of January 25 writing letters to Shepard explaining his case and asking for a surrender.

The infuriated Shepard felt that his duty to the new United States was to defend federal property, even though the federal government refused him to use it. Judging the times, he decided to let the people choose for themselves. On the 26th, Shays and Day marched on the armory, and Shepard ordered his men to fire their muskets in a warning shot. The revolutionaries refused to be deterred, overwhelming the troops and securing the armory.

At noon on the 27th, Lincoln and his mercenaries arrived. They attacked Shays and Day's joined forces in the defended position of the armory. The battle would last through the afternoon until Lincoln's exhausted troops began to break. Days led a counterattack across the frozen Connecticut River, routing Lincoln. The resounding victory would unite the farmers of western Massachusetts and lead to a march on Boston. Governor Bowdoin and the state legislature called for aid from the government, but Congress was out of session, so there was no way to legally declare war, even on Americans themselves. New York considered putting together a force to make peace, but the matter was deemed internal to a state, and a state invading another state to put down popular movement seemed contrary to the spirit of the Articles of Confederation.

With minimal resistance, Shays and his revolutionaries overthrew the Boston elite. New elections were held, despite stiff resistance from the shouts and writings of Samuel Adams, who now seemed unable to stop the voice of liberty that he had called for a little over a decade before. Heavy taxes were placed on the wealthy, solving the economic crisis while emptying the debtor's prisons. Calls for protection of property rang out but were drowned by councils judging those deemed “opposing the state.”

Backlash flowed across the rest of the United States. George Washington and others called for a constitutional convention to create a stronger federal government. It may have worked, but the summer of 1787 came too late, and ultimately the delegates would disband, creating only a new list of individual rights proposed by the representatives from Massachusetts. Planters in Virginia and Georgia suddenly faced uprising from small farmers who were kept out of competition. Insurrections from the slave class erupted in South Carolina, spreading to the hundreds before being violently put down. In New York, debates over river rights and shipping prices caused violent altercations and blockading of the Hudson. Political and military leaders took charge, promising security in exchange for rights.

Revolution in the states would continue at various levels, weakening the United States into a broken confederation as many in the British Government had anticipated. A similar revolution ran through France, sparking wars throughout Europe. As the states argued about supporting events in Europe, many supported the fellow revolutionaries while others began considering a return to Britain. Seeing possibility that all the work of the Revolution might go undone, George Washington endorsed the increasingly popular Aaron Burr of New York as a central leader. Burr would settle the country by war, eventually setting himself up as Emperor of the Americas, a position that would eventually be broken by fresh revolution a generation later under General Andrew Jackson.


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In reality, Shays' men attacked before Day was ready and were defeated as Shepard used the federal cannon to fire into the crowd of rebels. Lincoln's army mopped up the stragglers over the course of February, but the uprising was an awakening to the American people for the need of a strong, central government. The resulting constitutional convention produced the U.S. Constitution, a model for republican governments for centuries to come.

James W. Marshall Found Dead

Late in the evening, workers at Sutter's Mill outside Sacramento, California Territory, discovered the drowned body of foreman James Marshall. Rumors instantly flew that it was at the hands of the Mormon workers who had immigrated to California after being discharged from the Mormon Battalion of the Mexican-American War. Though the historiography is sketchy it is believed that Henry Bigler and Azariah Smith killed Marshall shortly after his discovery of gold flakes in the stream and before he turned the information over to owner John Sutter for testing. Further evidence is garnered by hasty messages by both of them sent to the heads of the LDS Church in newly founded Great Salt Lake City. Representatives from President of the Church Brigham Young soon arrived in California with ample funding to buy out Sutter, who moved his mill to lands farther north and continued his empire-building dream of New Helvetia.

That March, newspaper editor Samuel Brannan was also found dead, drowned in the San Francisco harbor. It is believed that he caught word of the discovery of gold, now practically held in monopoly by the Mormons, and was planning to announce it as he had recently opened a store for prospecting supplies. The public announcement of the discovery of gold in California did not come until 1851, when nearly all claims had been made by Mormon immigrants, who had also bought up all of the prospecting equipment in the region.

Wealth exploded out of California, and much of it passed into the coffers of the LDS Church, centered in Deseret Territory (it is believed that sufficient bribery had caused the Federal Government to give Governor Young a great deal of control over its organization in the Compromise of 1850). The Mormon Church came to dominate Deseret Territory as well as Northern California, creating an enormous religious bloc that would act as a state within the US, continually influencing politics in far-off Washington while keeping itself separated from outside control.


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In reality, James Marshall brought his discovery of gold flakes to John Sutter, who tried to keep the find quiet. Samuel Brannan published the discovery in his newspaper in March, reportedly walking through the street upholding a vial and calling, "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!" Latter-day Saints Henry Bigler and Azariah Smith made the first recorded documentation of the discovery in their diaries.

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 1438 – Suspension of Eugene IV Takes Hold

The world-unifying Council of Basel had been convened in Switzerland in 1431 by Martin V to continue the reforms under his papacy that had solved the Western Schism, which had torn apart Catholic Christendom for nearly forty years. In 1417, the Council of Constance had determined agreements to have the Roman Pope Gregory XII and Pisan Pope John XXIII, while the Avignon Pope Benedict XIII was excommunicated, undercutting his support and effectively ending the schism. Conciliarism had solved the issues of whom to trust with ultimate authority and many sought for it to reign supreme in Western Europe.

Councils were to take place every seven years, and Martin V convoked Basel shortly before his death of apoplexy. His cunning assistant Gabriele Condulmer was appointed Pope Eugene IV quickly afterward, and he immediately began to struggle with the Council. In December, Eugene called a dissolution for the Council, but the electors refused to leave and continued reforms. Eugene, a native Venetian, gave papal support to his city and allied Florence against Milan during the Lombardy Wars, which spawned great unrest among the Romans. After two years of contrary bulls, the two were reconciled by the newly elected Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, who allowed for the retaining of papal powers (and protection) while Eugene IV revoked the dissolution.

Following his settlement with those at Basel and looking toward presiding over a peace treaty in Ferrara, Eugene attempted to escape Rome disguised as a Benedictine monk. While in the Tiber, he was spotted and had stones thrown at him until a band of Romans supporting the Colonnna Family swam into the river and dragged him back to the Vatican. The city turned to an uproar that even the papal armies under Cardinal Vitelleschi could not reestablish control with the Pope under hostage. The peace talks in Ferrara disintegrated without the pope, and his influence began to become questioned as balance struck itself out.

While the Pope's power waned, the Council at Basel continued to grow in prestige. They wrote reform (such as banning circumcision as a mortal sin), judged lawsuits, acted as mediators, and even influenced the Treaty of Arras ending the Hundred Years' War between France and England. As the Council worked to achieve union with the church in the East, Eugene IV finally had to give them recognition to align his own political agendas. The parties worked to determine a place of meeting with the Council wanting an inland city far from Roman influence and the Greeks of Constantinople hoping for an easily reached port city. On January 10, 1438, the convention met, and the two churches began discussing ways of reconciling their dogma. Eugene worked to gain advantage in the discussion, but on January 24, the Council suspended him. It was the first step on the downward spiral of papal power, followed soon after of gaining the support of Frederick III, King of the Romans, that would eventually be relocated to a main seat representing overall Western Catholicism on the Council.

In the meantime, the Council was able to achieve an agreement with Patriarch Joseph II of Constantinople early in 1439. He would die that June, but by then the union would be in action, and, though unpopular, would prove to be mutually beneficial as the West ended its infighting and launched fresh crusades to beat back the Ottoman advances on the East. The reunification of the Church continued as the Coptic Christians arrived from Ethiopia with delegates in 1441. Further unification came as the Jacobites of Syria, Maronites of Lebanon, and even Nestorians of Persia came into the fold, joining Armenians and Russians who had already come. They managed to incite rebellion through the growing Ottoman Empire in Greece and Turkey, ending the expansion of Muslim political power while eclipsing it with a new Christian coalition.

The strong unity came as the Council debated issues such as purgatory and the Processions of the Holy Spirit. Theological debates will continue eternally, but the loose Constitution of Christendom would define a common ground that would be used by political leaders throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa to determine trade agreements, terms of war and peace, and overall morality. Missionaries and conquerors would stretch the reach of Christendom through Africa (in a crusade against slavery once dreamed by Martin V), Mongol-controlled Asia, and even to the newly discovered Americas.

Noted Pope Martin VI, formerly Augustinian monk Martin Luther, would lead internal matters of reformation by separating Church and State, the holy and the secular, solving many of the issues rising by the very different beliefs of the many churches that could not be rectified with his famous bull, “...Therefore I declare that neither pope nor bishop nor any other person has the right to impose a syllable of law upon a Christian man without his own consent.”



In reality, Eugene IV escaped Rome in 1433. War paused in northern Italy, and he maintained significant political influence. When the Council of Basel, moved to Ferrara and then Florence, attempted to suspend and depose Eugene while electing their own antipope. The schism would last ten years, and the political disagreements would break down attempts of unifying the world's Christian churches while establishing papal authority over councils.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23, 1510 – Young Henry VIII Dies Jousting

A mere nine months after his coronation, the brave and cunning King Henry VIII of England died while jousting incognito at Richmond in North Yorkshire. Only eighteen years old, Henry had been married to his brother Arthur’s widow, Catherine of Aragon, shortly after his father’s death. Remaining something of a wild prince, Henry sneaked away from court and participated in the lists in Yorkshire, jousting admirably until a spur broke and the mysterious knight was thrown to the ground, breaking his neck. It was a tragedy that would ignite the War of English Succession.

Succession had already recently been a violent matter in England Wars of the Roses between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. After much bloodshed, the overall question was solved completely by the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, bringing the two houses together. Henry VII had known that the key to continuing the newly conquered peace was firm succession, and the tragic death of Arthur had put a great deal of pressure on young Henry to live long and produce a male heir. With no heir, the crown was in the air, readying to be caught by any of a number of successors.

In England, men with lesser holds to the crown were beaten out by the overall clout of Queen Catherine of Aragon. Though technically a Spaniard, she held great cunning herself as well as the significant economic and military influence from her father Ferdinand II. Acting as a placeholder, she would chose from the many English who wished to be king and marry him with blessing of the Pope.

Meanwhile, the diplomatic dealings of Henry VII had expanded the Tudor claims beyond the English borders. His daughter Margaret had married James IV of Scotland while his daughter Mary Tudor had married the aged Louis XII of France. Louis’ claim was weak at best, especially as he only had daughters and neither from Mary, but he threw his support behind James as the Auld Alliance had tied the two nations together against England for centuries. James decided he must secure the crown for a future son, so he embarked on an invasion of England.

Catherine called up support from her father in Spain, who sailed a fleet of troops to London to bolster her forces. The English reacted negatively to the foreign soldiers, and local approval of Catherine began to decline, either in favor of less powerful claims or toward James. Civil war broke out among the factions, and James attempted serious invasion where he could garner his support. Meanwhile, he called to Louis for aid, which the French were slow to supply as they were fighting in Italy with the Venetians, who had taken up an alliance with the Papal States. In 1512, the Pope would declare a Holy League against France, allowing Spain to join in an alliance directly against France as well as Scotland, and the War of the League of Cambrai expanded to become a theater mirroring the war in England.

Battles in England would teach James the valuable lesson of keeping back his officers rather than placing them on the front line as leading knights and using pikes like the medieval model. His great victory would come at Flodden Field, September 9, 1513, when he, unscratched, led his army to a crushing victory over mixed Spanish and English supporting Catherine. Following the victory swiftly by a march to London, where the English dukes would swear allegiance and Catherine would escape to Spain. She would hold great prestige in her father’s court as the “rightful Queen of England” but never again rule. Meanwhile, James would solidify his command and begin building up a great fleet using England’s naval prestige, sparking wars among Spain, France, the Dutch, and Scotch England over influence in the Americas and East Indies.

The Union of Britain would ultimately be short-lived as the English chafed under Scottish rule by James III. Ultimately, the English Parliament would lead the rebellion, splitting up the island once again and separating colonies into competing spheres.




In reality, Henry survived his jousting and gained great applause before revealing himself as king to the amazement of the crowd. His reign would continue until 1547, during which he would conduct numerous wars and overthrow the Catholic influence in England to secure a divorce from Catherine in his attempt to achieve a male heir. James IV would indeed go to war against England following the Auld Alliance as Henry invaded France, but he would be rebuffed at the disastrous Battle of Flodden, where James would be killed as Catherine served as Regent in Henry’s absence.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 1905 - Glorious Sunday March Takes Place in Russia

In one of the defining moments of the Russian Empire, 300,000 workers marched in St. Petersburg to deliver a petition requesting rights from the Tsar. Such a request had been made a decade before when Nicholas II had taken the throne, but the young Tsar refused to give up the ideals of benevolent autocracy, declaring he believed in them "as firmly and as strongly as did my late lamented father." Alexander III was known for his repressive and reactionary stance against movements by the people, and Nicholas seemed hell-bent on following in his footsteps.

While the leadership refused reform, change was flowing through the suffering masses. Marxists traded literature and met in rallies, Leo Tolstoy spread his ideals of Christian anarchy, and a Russian Orthodox priest named Georgy Gapon sought to bring the people together in reconciliation with their iron-handed leaders. Newly graduated from seminary, Gapon came to teach at an orphanage and work firsthand with impoverished workers. He began to organize, creating the police-approved "Assembly of Russian Factory and Mill Workers of St. Petersburg" and even cooperating with radicals to maintain peace during progress. On January 8, 1905, a general strike protesting conditions and the Russo-Japanese War brought St. Petersburg to a standstill. Seizing the opportunity, Gapon gathered his followers and further volunteers totaling more than 300,000 for a delivery of petition for rights. Members calling for violence were not permitted to join, and every one was checked for weapons. They began a march to the Winter Palace where the Tsar was staying, singing patriotically on the way.

Nicholas had planned to leave St. Petersburg the day before as the strike seemed to become dangerous, but a fierce headache forced him to stay in bed. The next morning, he awoke to see the people gathering, and he watched as the hundreds of thousands approached. The Imperial Guard posted shot into the air to encourage the people to disperse and then prepared to fire into the crowd to force them away. Nicholas, seeing a new light as so many implored him to give them rights, conceded. He called the guards to stand down and made an impromptu speech from his balcony assuring his people that he would read their petition. Father Gapon was summoned, and Nicholas spent the evening questioning the priest and his ideals. Gapon convinced him to follow more in the footsteps of his grandfather, the conciliatory Alexander II.

The people returned to their homes and, that following Monday, to work. Nicholas began reform slowly, resisting political change, but allowing Gapon great power in organizing aid via the church and gifting him with substantial donations. As the war in the East continued poorly for Russia, Nicholas used propaganda based on the good deeds to keep the people in a tolerant mood. That August, he sent a delegation of Roman Rosen, Ambassador to Japan, and Sergei Witte, at one time Nicholas' most valued adviser and who had resigned because of the Russian efforts toward the East, to America to work a treaty with the Japanese. News of the end of the war brought great joy to Russia, especially with the generous terms the Russians were able to gain. Witte returned to Nicholas' government and guided the Tsar in formulating the October Constitution, creating a universally elected Duma less than two months later. While Marxists cried that the Constitution had not gone far enough, they were in the small minority as most held faith in their Tsar.

Over the next decade, Russia would see numerous reforms and public works projects, ending the depression that swept over the empire. The military was modernized, opening many new factories and well as academies where soldiers were trained in tactics rather than rushed through boot camps. Public schools opened in 1912, funded by taxation but built and initially operated by donation from Nicholas. Services became a large source of reform, managing food banks and coal repositories for long Russian winters, and pogroms were ended against the Jews while granting new rights to minorities. Gapon increased in influence with the Tsar, even eclipsing the Tsarina's favorite Rasputin.

During the World War, the Russian army was outmatched by the pressing forces of the Germans, but tactics enabled the soldiers to duplicate the defensive trench warfare strategy seen on the Western Front. While the war became essentially a draw, the Russians were able to secure good terms during the Treaty of Versailles in 1917. New stability followed Russia through the next ten years with booming trade in Russia's rich resources as Europe struggled to rebuild itself. During the Long Depression of the 1930s, Tsar Nicholas II would be admired for his government's organization in relief and building programs. His funeral in 1941 would be attended by nearly a million Russians while the nation mourned for a week over the lost Nicholas the Great.


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In reality, Nicholas fled St. Petersburg, and the guards opened fire on the crowds marching in protest. While the Tsarists admitted 96 dead and 333 injured, estimates range up to 4000 deaths by gunfire and trampling. Rioting spread through the city, and Gapon closed his Assembly and left Russia. He returned in October as the concessions of the October Manifesto pointed toward brighter times, but he would be assassinated by the Marxists, who gathered great influence as faith in the Tsar drained from the people.

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21, 1793 – Louis XVI Sent into Exile

After giving military and monetary aid to the young republic in the Americas to humiliate her ancient enemy Britain, France would find herself upturned by revolution. Louis XVI had initially hoped that French troops could seize the United States after its war, but, in 1789, economic crisis brought famine, and the storming of the Bastille signaled an uprising as had not been seen in Europe for centuries. The elected National Assembly ruled alongside Louis in a constitutional monarchy that ate away at absolutist authority. That October, a mob of angry women marched on Versailles and joined with others to bring the royal family to the Tuileries in Paris where they would be held to higher accountability.

Louis and Marie Antoinette attempted to escape in 1791, but they were brought back and viewed with great suspicion by the people. A year later, the Brunswick Manifesto promised vengeance from Austria and Prussia if the king's family were harmed, which only furthered the poplar suspicion. It seemed now that the king not only cared little for his people, but was also willing to deal with foreign strength against them, as great an insult as the use of Hessian mercenaries in the Americas during their revolution. On August 13, Louis was officially arrested, and a month later the National Assembly abolished the monarchy and declared a republic.

While the king waited and war raged on the German and Italian borders, the revolutionaries forged themselves into factions competing for similar, though unique, goals. Question of creating a permanent constitutional monarchy may have been answered with the discovery of the armoire de fer hidden in the king's rooms, but the iron chest believed to be holding the secret documents of ministers' double-agendas was destroyed in a sudden fire.

Nonetheless, loud cries for trial on grounds of treason brought Louis to trial before a special Convention. A body of 721 deputies heard the cases and word of crimes against the state by the king, but the resulting vote was indecisive. The king was thought to have been invaluable as a hostage, but it was evident that the threats to his safety were raising the tempers of the crowns of Europe. After French victory at the Battle of Valmy, the Prussian and Austrian armies had retreated out of France, but they would certainly return as the spring campaigning season came. Finally the decision was made to use the king as a pawn in a bid for peace. It was an unpopular notion to many in the National Assembly, but the fiery writings and loud cries of the masses demanded peace.

Ambassadors were sent to Prussia, and discussions went into the new year. At last Brunswick spoke out over the Bourbons and assured peace with the French Republic provided that the royals were made safe. They agreed that he could be sent to a neutral court, and his relatives in Spain volunteered to host him along with a contingent of French guards who would make certain Louis would not be used as the banner for royalists to rally. By this point, it was obvious to those close to Louis that he was unfit for rule, devastated by depression and poor nutrition into an indecisive mumbler.

Peace came to France on February 1, 1793, while the other countries worked to put down their own republican insurrections. Demands of constitutions were met across Europe, ending the age of autocratic rule that had been best illustrated by France's own Louis XIV. The security and return to prosperity allowed France to quiet its extremists and organize its army into an effective force rather than the desperate mass-conscription that had been anticipated to fight off the hordes of Europe.

France came to notable stability as the eighteenth century dawned. Its colonies enjoyed great liberalization and became leaders in the abolition movement. Not all were happy, however, and the colony of Corsica rebelled in 1803 under native who had been trained in Paris as an artillery commander. After a decade of cunning ambushes, Corsica was granted independence in 1813. The revolutionary leader Napoleon Bonaparte would set himself up as king while the French looked on and laughed to themselves about those foolish enough to give up republican freedom for tyranny.




In reality, the “iron chest” was discovered with its many secret documents that incriminated Louis XVI as conspiring against his people to reassert his domination. He was executed by guillotine, pardoning the people in his last speech. Spain, Portugal, Britain, and the Dutch would join Prussia and Austria in attempting to smother the revolutionaries with war. Levée en masse conscripted French young men as soldiers by the hundreds of thousands who would eventually fight off the external threats while the Reign of Terror sought out and destroyed anyone who opposed them from within.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18, 1671 – Henry Morgan Captures Panama’s Gold

A broken steering rig changed the fortunes of pirate Admiral Henry Morgan, who may very well have been hanged for his famous, and infamous, marauding. As the feared Morgan charged up the Chagres River with some fourteen hundred privateers, the people and government of Panama rushed their gold and silver into a treasure ship that they would hide at anchor in the Gulf of Panama, open to the Pacific instead of Morgan’s fleet on the Caribbean. Even if the Welshman managed to take the city, their treasure would be safe. So went the plan until the tiller broke under the weight of attempting to steer the heavily loaded ship out of harbor. It ran aground only hours before Morgan’s men were spotted appraoching. The Spaniards rushed out to fight him off, but were ambushed by gunfire and flanked by additional pirates from the trees around them, handing the city and the massive treasure to Morgan.

It was the crowning moment of an already illustrious career in piracy. Morgan had come to the Caribbean as a young man, settling in Jamaica, which was newly won from Spain and defended by Buccaneers at the invitation of the governor. Officially, war between Spain and England ended in 1660 with the restoration of King Charles II, but the governors of Jamaica, both Lord Windsor (who would lead plundering expeditions himself) and Sir Thomas Modyford continued to issue letters of marque to maintain a presence of English strength in the Caribbean, primarily at the expense of the Spanish.

Morgan became an expert pirate attacking ships and settlements with valor that raised him through the ranks. He served in Myngs’s fleet and joined in the expeditions capturing Granada, Providence, and many others. In 1667, Morgan was given his own command and captured Puerto Principe. Seeing that their meager plunder could not cover the pirate crews’ debts, Morgan went on to capture Porto Bello, capturing a total treasure and ransom worth nearly a quarter of a million pieces of eight (approaching $7,000,000 in 2010 currency). He continued raiding Cuba for some time as a privateer, then turned to Panama, where he would capture the wealthiest city in New Spain with its gold and silver already loaded.

Unbeknownst to Morgan, this last raid had been made after the 1670 signing of the Treaty of Madrid, which exchanged territorial recognitions and promised peace between Spain and England, meaning that his capture of Panama City had been performed as a pirate. Blissfully ignorant, Morgan and his captains loaded the treasure into their own ships and returned to Jamaica. Once in Port Royal, Morgan was arrested for piracy and sent to England along with the king’s share of the massive captured wealth. In London, Morgan could prove in court that he was unaware of the treaty, which put King Charles in a troubling position: to keep the treasure, he would have to violate his treaty with Spain. War raged with the Dutch due to a secret treaty with France, and Charles was short on money after the patriotism of the Second Anglo-Dutch War had ended badly some five years before. His goal of making his nephew William of Orange the stadtholder of the Netherlands had already progressed with Holland and Zeeland conceding, and William had refused to be made a sovereign, so only potential war with France (who had not yet paid the promised 300,000 pounds for Dunkirk) was keeping England in war. As the Quadruple Alliance formed around the Dutch against France and Sweden in 1673, Charles took it as an opportunity to gain forgiveness from Spain and volunteered to switch sides in the war. Spain’s Charles II agreed, and England suddenly turned to opposing French conquest of the Netherlands in the Quintuple Alliance.

Morgan, who had been acquitted, was knighted in 1674 and sent back to the Caribbean to “root out the French” from wherever he could. Gathering pirates from friendly ports as well as former enemies from Spanish colonies who admired his victories, Admiral Morgan captured New Orleans in 1666 and, after being rebuffed from Haiti, sailed down the Antilles overtaking islands such as St. Martin, St. Lucia, Dominica, and Grenada. War ended in 1678, and Louis XIV gave up his claims to warm-water ports in the Americas with the exceptions of Haiti and Martinique. France would refocus on building its empire closer to home and coming to dominate the Mediterranean as Spanish influence waned over the eighteenth century.

Morgan tried his hand at politics as the first governor of English Louisiana, governing fairly though drunkenly until his retirement in 1684, following a lengthy decline in his health culminating in his death in 1688 of dropsy.




In reality, the residents of Panama had successfully hidden their treasure. Morgan destroyed the town and tortured its citizens in two days of searching, but left empty-handed. He was arrested as a pirate, but since no treasure had been taken, he was acquitted and knighted by Charles II, who dispatched him as lieutenant governor of Jamaica, which Morgan would expand to acting governor. Though he would be replaced by rival Thomas Lynch, Morgan would successfully defend the stories of his life in court during libel proceedings against Alexandre Exquemelin’s history of pirates, De Americaensche Zee-Roovers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16, 1917 – Zimmermann Sends Telegram to the United States

The World War had raged for nearly three years, and Germany felt the pinch with trench warfare in France, the British blockade, and bitter warfare on the icy Eastern Front. Despite the pressures against them, the German Army had been the main strength of the Central Powers and held against the Allied onslaughts. The Battle of Verdun lasted ten months over 1916 and cost 300,000 lives, ultimately ending in a failure of Germany taking Verdun, though some ground was taken. Kaiser Wilhelm II had taken it as enough to declare victory in the war and call for terms of peace.

Wilson, who had long been seeking opportunities to put into place his ideal League of Nations, attempted to negotiate with the two sides in note. The Germans requested a more open discussion, while the British under Lloyd George took the opportunity to lead the Allies in creating a list of enormous demands including reparations, evacuations, and recognition of nation-states. The diplomatic gamble ultimately led to further division between the Allies and Central Powers, Wilhelm blaming the Allies for being unreasonable while the Allies did the same of him. With time running out as supplies dwindled behind the blockade, Foreign Secretary of the German Empire Arthur Zimmermann decided a new tactic.

The United States had gradually come into line with the Allies over the course of the war after being vehemently neutral due to German naval attacks and increasing economic influence due to war-profiteering in Britain while Germany sat behind its blockade. The original countermeasures to the blockade had been “unrestricted” submarine warfare against Allied ships in the Atlantic, torpedoing them at sight rather than stopping and conducting searches as was typical in naval warfare. While tactically advantageous, the sinking of the RMS Lusitania and others had resulted in grave negative response as many American passengers had been killed despite being warned against travel. The outcry from neutral countries had put an end to the U-boat attacks, but the failure of diplomacy in December of 1916 prompted the German command to resume unrestricted submarine warfare beginning February 1, 1917, though it would almost certainly bring the United States into the war.

Initially, Zimmermann had considered finding more allies such as Mexico and Japan to expand the war to soak up inevitable American troops, but he settled on ways of keeping the United States out or even voicing positive support for Germany. He sent a telegram through the ambassador to Washington reading,

“We intend to begin on the first of February unrestricted submarine warfare. We shall endeavor in spite of this to keep the United States of America neutral. While such tactics are not to our pleasure, it has become necessary to fight against the British Navy as they have sought to starve the people of Germany into submission through their blockade. Americans as well have felt the economic frustration of their activity of war. Please call the President's attention to the fact that the ruthless employment of our submarines now offers the prospect of compelling England in a few months to make peace.” Signed, ZIMMERMANN

Word of the German eagerness for peace seized many Americans, especially the German-Americans whose parents or themselves had immigrated. Other Americans began to demand the opening of German ports to ships with food and medicine, especially those whose exports had been harmed by the cut-off of German consumers. Britain had allowed searched ships through its blockade, but propaganda through political cartoons showing John Bull stealing dinner from starving German children’s mouths stirred public opinion. William Jennings Bryan, who had resigned as Secretary of State due to Wilson’s fascination with the war, spoke out from his stage on the Chautauqua circuit that the United States must take up a fresh stand to end the war before desperation pushed the Germans too far. Former President Theodore Roosevelt spoke out against the German “pirates”, but promises of German U-boat escorts for neutral ships kept their image as, at most, wartime privateers.

President Wilson delivered an address to Congress on April 6 to confirm neutrality while publically rebuking the Germans for their unrestricted submarine warfare and also rebuking the Allies for not seeking reasonable peace. Allied freight was sunk by the millions of tons in the Atlantic, and improved convoy and decoy tactics were limited by increasing neutral support for blockade-running ships with courses set for lucrative German ports. The war seemed to continue at a bitter stalemate over the summer, but the collapse of Russia and decisive Central victory at the Battle of Caporetto seemed to give the Germans an edge. As the revolutionary government of Russia began talks for peace at Brest-Litovsk, the beleaguered French also agreed to armistice with Austria through Belgian intermediaries. Frustrated Britons felt that they could not carry the war on alone and capitulated to US-led talks hosted in New York.

Diplomacy was bitter and nearly fell apart on a number of occasions as various sides made overwhelming demands. Enumerated reparations caused so much money to exchange hands that an equivalency was found granting primary gains to France, Alsace-Lorraine became divided, and Northeastern Europe became a variety of new states such as Poland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, while Austrian advances on Serbia were rebuffed and internal nationalities in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire gained significant self-rule. Over the course of the 1920s, many of these nations would rebel to become independent states, as well as Ireland in the UK, as the Balkans and Middle East shattered into other states.

Meanwhile, Wilson would get his wishes of a League of Nations to be hosted in neutral Geneva. Upon the implosion of the Ottoman Empire, renewed colonialism would swarm into the Middle East, sparking, along with bitter economic downturn, the Second World War in the mid-1930s. Again, the United States would seek neutrality.




In reality, Zimmermann sent his telegram to Mexico, suggesting an alliance in which Germany would aid the Mexican forces with weapons and money to retake Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona territory lost in the Mexican-American War some seventy years earlier. The telegram was delivered to Americans by British code-breakers, however, and word of such treachery shocked the public as did the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, which would prompt an American declaration of war against Germany.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 1879 – Cetshwayo Makes Zulu Appeal

On December 11, 1879, Sir Henry Bartle Frere outlined an ultimatum for King Cetshwayo of thirteen points created around the increasing difficulties with the British, the Afrikaners, and the Zulu all working to cohabitate the southeast corner of Africa. Many of the points were the surrender of Zulus who had committed crimes across the border and were sought for trial in Natal courts. Other points outlined a system of social change for the Zulus, including marriage rights, treatment of Zulus converted to Christianity, and the disbanding and modification of their army. Still others insisted on a British Resident adviser to determine Zulu law such as exile and any legal activity involving a European. The ultimatum was drastic, and both Frere and Cetshwayo knew it was unacceptable. The month deadline passed, and Frere ordered Lieutenant General Frederick Augustus Thesiger, 2nd Baron Chelmsford, to invade with 15,000 men.

As British troops crossed the Tugela River into the Zulu kingdom, they were met with a delegation led by King Cetshwayo himself. Chelmsford was shocked to see a diplomatic approach from Cetshwayo. The Zulu were a warlike people, Cetshwayo’s great-grandfather Shaka had revolutionized their army and conquered neighboring tribes to build a powerful kingdom as Europeans began to arrive. They had subordinated the Swazis, and Cetshwayo had impressed the Europeans diplomatically enough to seize ceded land. He flexed these skills in strong diplomacy again to Chelmsford, stating (through translation as well as from a legal stance provided by Anglican Bishop Colenso, who sought peace among the troubled nations) that the invasion was illegal, and he demanded to speak with the Britons’ queen, inviting her to his capital at Ulundi.

The action was unorthodox, but Chelmsford’s civility forced him to comply. He made camp along the river and sent messages to Frere. The latter was outraged at Chelmsford’s failure to follow orders, but by then the invasion had come to the notice of Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Secretary of State for the Colonies, who forbade it. Frere argued that, without the Zulus standing down their army, confederation as had been seen in Canada could not take place. Hicks Beach replied that, without diplomacy, confederation would only be by war.

Word returned to London about the request, and Parliament debated the matter of recognizing officially the Zulus rather than treating them as an uncivilized power on the verge of colonization. While a trip for the aged queen was out of the question, Victoria recognized the generosity of the king. She requested Frere recalled as a troublemaker, and Prime Minister Disraeli agreed. Frere begrudgingly left Africa, and the more local John Molteno of Cape Town established a new government based in organizing southern Africa diplomatically. The Boers were granted their constitution for Transvaal thanks to Frere’s actions upon his return to London, heading off a potential war and saving his legacy.

Over the next decades, unionism would gradually take root as Molteno’s policies of economic stimulus brought railways and manufactured goods to the Zululands and protectorates of the Orange Free State and Transvaal. Zulu were given precedence over the rebellious Xhosa, and local chiefs were rewarded for development of their lands. Rampant exploitation as seen by Rhodes and others gradually died away as ideals of workers’ rights and freedom from taxation grew, such as the Demonstration Rallies of 1906. The fight for rights and equality became a model for other colonies, specifically India whose leader Mohandas Gandhi witnessed the actions while supporting advances by Indian immigrants there as a young lawyer.

Though true equality is a difficult political point to reach, the Union of South Africa has shown great strides in establishing a complicated federation of native kingdoms, former British, Dutch, and German colonies, and districts stretching from Cape Town to Lusaka. In 1962, the young and popular Rolihlahla Mandela was named Prime Minister, the first African to do so, but certainly not the last.




In reality, Cetshwayo defended his kingdom by warfare. Using many of his great-grandfather’s tactics, he repelled the British invasion, but Chelmsford regrouped in Natal that summer, leading to British victory in August. The First Boer War started soon after, and the settlers were placated until the longer and much more devastating war between 1899 and 1902. Insurgency would continue even after de-colonization, which would lead to the dire times of Apartheid as the placing of one people over another was forced as the legal norm.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10, 1475 – Death of Stephen III Prompts Ottoman Victory

Since the fall of Constantinople to Mehmed II in 1453, the Ottomans had worked to extend their power deeper into Christendom through the Balkans. For a century, they had made conquests in Greece and Serbia, taking hold of the power vacuum as Venice declined, and they pressed as far as Hungary. The Christians had been working to oppose Ottoman expansion, though many of their wars were against one another. Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, stood as the heavyweight of the land, but his defeat in 1467 by Stephen III of Moldavia proved a great new leader with impressive military clout.

Corvinus gave up his plans of conquest in Moldavia and took Stephen as an ally, supplying troops and allowing him to campaign in Transylvania and Wallacia, where the Ottoman-supported Radu III, half-brother of Vlad Dracul, reigned. Mehmed II planned an invasion to conquer the upstart Stephen, and the Ottoman forces met the Moldavians at the Vaslui in 1475. Stephen had weakened the invading army with scorched earth tactics, and he sent musicians to draw out the Ottoman army on a foggy morning. The Ottomans might have charged into the fog, but, seeing the exhaustion from his troops, General Suleiman decided to rest and fight defensively.

Stephen was caught with eager troops and his trap empty. He made a rash decision to attack, noted later by Pope Sixtus IV as his failure in not consulting God first. The armies met, but the Moldavians had gone outside of the useful range of their artillery and archers. Fighting raged for nearly a day until Stephen was killed and the Moldavian generals ordered retreat. The Ottomans pursued and wiped out the army, seizing the capital Suceava and effectively conquering Moldavia.

Christendom flew into a panic at the major Ottoman advance. The Genoese, who had been orchestrating Tartar advances from the north against Stephen’s influence over their Black Sea colonies, appealed to Corvinus for help. A council was called, and the Pope blessed Corvinus with a new crusade to liberate Moldavia. The Poles offered forces (in exchange for their own piece of Moldavia), and Corvinus endorsed Prince Vlad of Wallacia, whom he had once arrested on pretenses of working with the Ottomans but now trusted enough to allow him to marry his cousin, Ilona Szilágyi. While the main force fought in Moldavia, Vlad would undercut support in the more southern Wallacia, which had been ruled the last year by the Ottoman Basarab Laiotă the Old due to the treaty his half-brother had signed.

Vlad was welcomed as a liberator by the High Council, though many of the boyars again distrusted him as he had slain so many of them the last time he had come to power. Civil war raged, but Vlad was granted with ample knights and Hungarian troops, which gave him an impressive victory at Bucharest in 1476. Mehmed, seeing the key provinces for military security becoming lost, launched counter-invasions, which ended in Corvinus’s great victory at the Battle of Breadfield in 1479 with nearly 100,000 Turks slain.

Corvinus and Mehmed signed a treaty stabilizing the new, more southern borders, including Serbia being transferred to Corvinus as a vassal. The sultan planned a new expedition once he had secured fresh troops, but his death in 1481 (supposedly by poisoning at the hand of his Italian doctor) ended the campaign. His successor Bayezid II maintained the border and focused more southeasterly, fighting long campaigns to put down the Safavid rebellions in Persia that would ultimately break the Ottoman Empire. Corvinus, meanwhile, established his own empire, which grew out of Balkan conquests as Ottoman power fell over the next century.

Wallacia continued as a key vassal in the Hungarian Empire, sporting Vlad III as one of its greatest, though strictest, leaders. Vlad III, more often referred to as Dracula (“son of Drakul”), is remembered for his legacy of minimizing bureaucratic corruption, harsh punishments for crimes, and promoting trade. He would be immortalized by Bram Stoker in 1897’s Dracula about a harsh Transylvanian industrialist, literally a robber-baron, who comes to London and begins to drain the blood of its banks and exchanges through supernatural hypnotism and control of natural forces.




In reality, Stephen the Great and Holy won overwhelming victory at Vaslui, stemming Ottoman invasion for a year. Mehmed would regroup and be victorious, and numerous attacks from Poles and Tartars prompted Stephen to pay tribute for peace with the Ottomans. Vlad Dracula would return to Wallacia with the High Council’s support in November of 1476, but he would die in battle near Bucharest a month later.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 9, 1916 - Gallipoli Campaign Ends with Occupation of Istanbul

After nine grueling months of combat, ANZAC troops led the charge into the capital of the Ottoman Empire and brought about its surrender. It was a campaign that was conceived initially by First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill and solved many of the Allies' problems after the opening of the World War had come to stalemate. Trench warfare in France had come to a standstill, and the Allies needed a new front to break into the territory of the Central Powers. First Sea Lord John Fisher suggested an amphibious landing in Germany itself to break the Kaiser's strength at home, but Churchill suggested taking the Dardanelles, which would break up the Ottoman Empire while also making use of outdated naval ships unfit for combat against the German fleet as well as establishing supply lines to Russia, which was effectively cut off from the rest of the Allies by the Central fronts, German ships, and ice.

Churchill won the debate, and an Allied fleet made its first attack on February 19, 1915. Initial bombardment weakened the fortresses along the Dardanelles, so Admiral Carden cabled Churchill that victory would be assured by a major push in early March. Fisher and others in the Navy noted that losses would be severe, and Fisher repeatedly threatened to resign over the matter. Churchill initially dismissed the notion, saying that war was war, but he finally conceded and asked Fisher to outline a battle plan with minimal loss. Instead of the direct attack planned, the navy would give support while covert agents swept for mines and destroyed mobile artillery that could attack from anywhere along the shore.

Rather than the direct attack, the British and French fleets moved slowly and methodically, eliminating any possible mines while the Ottomans continued to patrol and strike whenever possible. The latter struggled constantly with low ammunition, and the Allies gradually made their way upward to the forts guarding the narrow-most corridor of the Dardanelles. Under naval artillery support, troops were landed at Cape Helles, most notably the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, who had been training in Egypt for battle in France and suddenly reassigned. Also among them were elite troops in the British Gurkhas, the Jewish Legion, and many English and Irish. The Ottomans fought back fiercely, such as the stand of the 57th Infantry Regiment under the command Lieutenant-Colonel Mustafa Kemal, who said, “I do not expect you to attack, I order you to die. In the time which passes until we die, other troops and commanders can come forward and take our places.”

Over the course of the next months, battle after battle would press the Allies forward. Both armies would suffer from intense heat in the summer, mosquitoes and vermin, storms, flooding, and frostbite during the winter. That spring, the navy would break through the strait and gain open water in the Sea of Marmara, setting up a new stage for the campaign in besieging and assaulting Istanbul. Joined by the Russian fleet from across the Black Sea, the city would be cut off from the rest of the empire, which would shatter over the course of 1916. The Armenians, who had been executed en masse for their volunteer forces in Russia, rebelled openly and were promised their own nation-state. The Young Turk movement, which had been suppressed and even turned to fight against the invasion of the Allies, now declared the caliphate abolished, establishing a new republic. Other territories of the Ottomans were broken apart, though diplomats were busy solidifying the entrances of Romania and Greece into the war and left the divisions to the Arab Bureau of the Foreign Office, working primarily with archeologist / Intelligence Officer T.E. Lawrence and General Archibald Murray of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. The new national lines followed the division of people groups, notoriously spawning wars in the Middle East throughout the twentieth century, though rarely violent internal matters.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire seemed a great boon for the Allies, but the fall of Russia later that year would bring the war to another standstill until won after the entrance of the United States and devastating Spanish Flu pandemic. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles would be the first great note of Sir Winston Churchill's career as Prime Minister.


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In reality, the Gallipoli Campaign would be one of the bloodiest failures of the Allies in World War I, ending with an evacuation of troops on January 9, 1916. Churchill and Fisher would argue to the point of Fisher's resignation, though the two retained mutual respect. Churchill received much of the blame for the failures at Gallipoli and was demoted, eventually taking a short retirement from politics and commanding an infantry battalion on the Western Front. The genocide against the Armenians, which would total over one million deaths, is believed to have been intensified because of the desperation of war in Gallipoli.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

January 8, 1885 – William Randolph Hearst Killed in Traffic Accident

Just one term short of his graduation from Harvard, William Randolph Hearst was killed in a traffic accident. He was son of George Hearst, the mining engineer who had made his millions in California during the Gold Rush and investments afterward. While the death of an industrialist’s son is historically little more than tabloid pop culture, William was given a headline, three-page obituary in the San Francisco Examiner, a newspaper the elder Hearst had purchased (though rumor holds he won in a poker game) in 1880. From the glowing report the “would that it were” speculations of Hearst’s survival in the obituary painted a young man who would rise to lead his nation out of corruption and into a bright new age of liberty and enlightenment.

According to eye-witnesses, however, Hearst seemed to be more of a trouble-maker than a golden boy. He played pranks through his youth and was a notorious frustration to his teachers. While attending Harvard, he gifted several professors (specifically ones he did not like) with chamber pots made of gold featuring engravings of their names. The impropriety toward faculty called Hearst into a behavioral review, but, after much deliberation and supposed bribery, Hearst was allowed to continue his schooling. While wandering drunkenly through Cambridge, Mass, with friends, he halted to vomit into a public trash can, then stumbled into the street where he was struck by a car, dying shortly thereafter of injuries.

George Hearst went on to serve as US Senator from California until his death in 1891. The famous Examiner, which Hearst had used to fuel his political campaigns, folded shortly afterward. His wife Phoebe Apperson Hearst, now widowed and childless, turned his great fortunes and investments toward charities following her faith of Baha’i. She followed her husband in dead in 1919 during the influenza epidemic, but her many philanthropic agencies continue to today.

Of course, as life goes on with so many deaths, life continued without William Randolph. The United States continued expansionism but never slid back into its barbaric ways of imperialistic invasion. In 1898, after an accidental explosion of the USS Maine nearly caused war between the US and Spain, the investigative journalistic talents of Joseph Pulitzer were nationally recognized and stand as one of the hallmarks of American journalism, known worldwide for its precision and fairness as well as its expense.

During the debates of the criminalization of marijuana in the 1930s, solid scientific study based in this journalism overcame anti-Hispanic suspicions and industrial influence. Marijuana was to remain legal, though routinely cautioned against by the Surgeon General much like alcohol and cigarettes. Suggestion of banning marijuana returned in the 1950s and ‘60s, but was generally met with Vice-President Nixon’s opinion, “We don’t want another Prohibition.”

While refraining from international war, the US did, however, broker a treaty between Spain and Cuba, freeing it and several other colonies such as Puerto Rico and the Philippines by making loans based on bonds sponsored by the newly found nations. Rather than a costly military empire, the United States would build a commonwealth of economically tied satellites, a strategy accelerated by the Cold War into a worldwide influence that some pundits describe as the “American Empire” and others as the “Pax Americana.”




In reality, William Randolph Hearst was expelled from Harvard after the golden chamber pot incident. His father gave him the San Francisco Examiner as something to do, and Hearst leaped into creating his publishing empire. A populist, Hearst reduced the price of his papers to one cent and used exciting, often “yellow” journalism to move copies. He would employ many of America’s greatest writers such as Jack London and Mark Twain and become deeply invested in politics, later being instrumental in activities such as expansionism, Free Silver, and the criminalization of marijuana. His life, including his decades-long involvement with actress Marion Davies, would be inspiration for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, a film Hearst would refuse to advertise in his papers. Through Hearst’s influence, Citizen Kane would be booed at the Oscars and not gain recognition for another two decades, long after Hearst’s death in 1951.

Friday, January 7, 2011

January 7, 1861 - Yancey Calls for a Confederate States of Washington

Secessionism had been a discussed point off and on throughout the first century of the United States of America. South Carolina repeatedly made its threats to secede and even questioned the power of the Federal government in the Nullification Crisis, which was effectively settled by counter-threats of military action by President Jackson. The issue of slavery (specifically its expansion into territories) drove a deep divide between the North and South, which already had significant economic and social segregation. John C. Calhoun, the nearly ubiquitous senator from South Carolina, spoke out against the Compromise of 1850 to no avail. Earlier, Calhoun had led the charge to unify Southern interests against the increasingly anti-slave North, laying the foundation for real secession in his "Address of the Southern Delegates in Congress, to Their Constituents" as it outlined Constitutional violations against the South by the North. Great fears were raised about forced emancipation and Southern subjugation, and the election of Abraham Lincoln seemed to justify all those fears.

Calhoun died in 1850, shortly after the Compromise, but by then he had many followers, including William L. Yancey, Congressman from Alabama. Yancey had initially opposed Calhoun's radicalism, though years of following politics as editor of the Cahaba Southern Democrat had won him to Calhoun's side on the matter of Northern aggression. Abolitionism leaped forward politically as 1852 had seen one of the biggest turns for anti-slavery with the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. The importance of public relations weighed upon him, and he had fought back with sharp editorials. Alabama prepared to host a convention due to the election of a Republican, and Yancey began to ponder how he might stir cooperationists (Southerners who only wished to secede if the rest of the South were to do so). While devising methods of verbally whipping them for their fearfulness, it occurred to him that he needed not persuade the South that secession was right, but the North.

From his platform as a leading member of the convention, Yancey pronounced a speech steeped in the rhetoric that would still be familiar in the North: the War of Independence. He spoke of great Southerners Thomas Jefferson, who had outlined the reasons for leaving the mother country, and James Madison, who had been architect of a Constitution the North had repeatedly stepped over. Most of all, he spoke of General George Washington, first to serve his country in war and in peace and was truly a Cincinnatus who wanted to return to the peace of his plantation. Rather than calling upon the name of "some Italian", Yancey proclaimed that theirs would be a nation dubbed "The Confederate States of Washington." The name sounded initially hokey, but Yancey's silver tongue smoothed its wrinkles, and the CSW was born.

The Civil War would be hard times for the South, and Yancey was dispatched as a diplomat to Britain in search of aid. The British would proclaim neutrality despite victory at Bull Run and Yancey's best efforts (even attempting to counteract his many appeals to the Revolution against them). He decided eventually that the issue of slavery, which was the key issue to inspire separation in the first place, was holding back international support. Since building up foreign relations for the South seemed impossible, Yancey instead turned to devalue the North. He spent his return voyage to the CSW working on huge new campaigns of propaganda, including writing a novel with his aides to combat the spirit of Uncle Tom. While the resulting Southern Heart was hardly a classic of literature, it was packed with outrageous violence performed by Yankee soldiers and uppity slaves upon the charming and courageous young farmers, George and Martha Dix. The drivel piqued the interest of the masses, and Yancey used his position as Senator from Alabama to route a good deal of the Congress's money into spreading it through the North.

The propaganda war took a sharp turn. With the powerful reminders of Washington and the South's efforts in the Revolution sprinkled throughout the book (especially in comparing their burned out farm to Valley Forge and in the final speech where George speaks of his grandfather standing tall at Yorktown over the invading Redcoats, comparing them with Yankee blue), the North seized the opportunity of counter-propaganda by erasing much of the South's early influence on the United States. The American Revolution became a very unpopular topic for discussion, and the story of George Washington chopping down his father's cherry tree emphasized the general's young cowardice at staying silent. Abraham Lincoln often commented that the lies of war were unbecoming of any American and referred directly to the Revolution in his Address at Gettysburg. The ill-received speech would be blamed for his failure at reelection in 1864.

Despite the efforts of the South, the North's industrial and population base won out, and the war ended in 1865. Bad sentiments stood as Reconstruction began, and the assassination of President McClellan only made things worse. Southern Heart had been declared treasonous material with hundreds of book burnings during the occupation, and history books became edited to highlight the efforts of John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Benjamin Franklin as well as the fiascoes of Southern politics such as the near-loss of Madison's War and the Nullification Crisis. After a return to stability in the later nineteenth century, the myths of George Washington would be supported primarily by the Klan and other begrudging Southerners. Following improvements through the WPA in the Great Depression and World War II's resurrection of the South, Washington and his Revolutionary counterparts would come into marginal recognition in the history textbooks, but few counted him among the best presidents as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ulysses Grant routinely topped the national polls.


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In reality, Yancey kept his public relations to politics and the South. His opinions would drive rifts between him and CSA President Davis as well as Senator Benjamin Hill of Georgia, who would hit Yancey in the head with an inkstand during debate in Congress. Yancey would die of kidney illness in 1863, never seeing the outcome of his vivacious speeches toward secession and independence.

Special thanks to the editor at Today in Alternate History for the idea.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 6, 1895 – Hawaii Returns to Home Rule

Since the unification of the Hawaiian Islands by Kamehameha I in 1810, the royal house had controlled the Pacific nation with gradually decreasing power over the nineteenth century. Initially, the kings and queens were unquestionable, but the plagues that ravaged the populace also devastated the dynasty, leaving legislatures to elect the next king. Influence from Europe and, especially, the United States increased, especially after the signing of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875 in which the two became close trade partners. In 1887, after a vicious election campaign in 1873 in which rioters were put down by foreign armies, King David Kalākaua was forced to sign the “Bayonet Constitution” greatly limiting the power of the monarch. Rather than shifting the power into the hands of the people, the constitution placed it firmly into the hands of the wealthy planters and politicians.

Queen Liliʻuokalani came to power in 1891 upon the death of David Kalākaua and set about regaining power. Her main end was to revoke the Constitution of 1887 and entail her own. Fearful of losing power, the wealthy (primarily white businessmen) formed a Committee of Safety and overthrew the queen in 1893. During the military overthrow, US Minister to Hawaii John Stevens ordered Marines into action supporting the coup from anchor in Pearl Harbor, which had been leased by the United States Navy only six years before.

Outrage both international and local would be voiced, but none enough to force the planter-led Sanford Dole’s Provisional Government out of power. The Blount Report of 1893 and 1894 Morgan Report from the U.S. Senate showed distaste for the illegal use of Marines, but the petitions of Hawaiians were not enough to undo the action. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland made clear that he supported the imprisoned Queen Lili’uokalani and refused the continual petition for annexation. The new US Minister to Hawaii, Albert Willis, used rumors and the Japanese, American, and British naval ships in harbor as an elaborate hoax to show the public’s distaste for Dole’s government, but Dole refused to give up power. The government reformed itself into the Republic of Hawaii, awaiting a day when a favorable administration would allow the islands to become United States Territory.

While the rest of the world stood by with wrinkled noses, local Hawaiians were organizing to retaliate. Led by men such as former Head of the Royal Guard Sam Nowlein and Robert Wilcox, who had studied military action in Italian academies in a royal program ended with the 1887 Constitution, the Royalists collected troops among the poor and disenfranchised and armed with them weapons smuggled from San Francisco. On January 6, 1895, Republican police searched the Royalist weapons cache in the home of John Bertleman on Waikiki Beach. Shots broke out, and Royalists surrounded the house, capturing all six of the policemen. Knowing that rumors had turned to reality, Wilcox led the charge that night to attack government buildings while Nowlein rescued the queen from her palace and declared her power returned at 11:59 so that not one more day would be spent under the tyranny of oligarchy.

The Royalists numbered only 500, but they acted with speed and surprise that enabled them to capture Dole and several other government leaders before the Republican Army had time to react. Riots broke out in the plantations in ‘Ewa, and Hawaiians hurried out into the streets to show their support for either government. In the chaos, Minister Albert Willis refused to let American or other foreign powers intervene, and, by January 9, the Republic was crushed.

Lili’uokalani rewrote her constitution and led court proceedings stripping Dole and his minions of their properties as well as freeing any indentured workers imported from Asia from their contracts. Representation was granted to the naturalized Asians who had lost their votes in 1887. A special thanks was given to Willis, and Wilcox, now made a duke to match his nickname of “Iron Duke,” was named Minister to the United States, meeting with the later President McKinley, whose expansionism Wilcox stifled. Pearl Harbor remained leased by the United States but was not expanded until World War II.

In December of 1941, another expansionistic force would be seen as the Empire of Japan attacked the American base at Midway without warning, leading to a bloody battle even before war was declared. The Hawaiians, close to the United States but with a large Japanese population, declared neutrality. Staying out of the war proved impossible, and King Kamehameha Lane opened his islands for Allied aid while cracking down on any suspicion among Japanese citizens.

The war would prove an economic boom for Hawaii, which would lead to a harsh crash in the 1950s, prompting a coup by anti-royal socialists, mainly of Japanese descent. The CIA funded and armed several counter-revolutions, destroying stability. A new Republic of Hawaii came with a successful revolution in 1989, and a golden age from tourism lasted as developers in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. The Global Credit Crisis struck Hawaii particularly hard, devastating the islands’ economy comparable to, though worse than, Iceland.




In reality, three of the Republican police at Bertleman’s house escaped. They gave warning of the uprising, which led the Republican Army of 1200 and some 500 Citizens’ Guards to attack the Royalists at the Battle of Diamond Head. Although initially successful at repelling attack, the Royalists were overwhelmed by numbers and the Republicans’ artillery, retreating and fighting skirmishes for over a week before being snuffed out. Lili’uokalani, Wilcox, and others were tried for treason, served part of their sentences, and were pardoned by Dole after Lili’uokalani’s abdication. In 1898, Hawaii would be annexed by the United States, and Wilcox was later elected Delegate to Congress.

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