May Day

1st May
May Day is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival, a public holiday in more than eighty countries (and celebrated unofficially in many other) also recognized by the labour movement as International Workers' Day (see Professor Jeff Provine's article on the "Battle of Toledo".

Bonnie & Clyde Join Battle of Toledo


In a move that in some ways continued their murderous lives of crime and in others returned the air of Robin Hood with which they had surrounded themselves, notorious gangsters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker joined the strike at the Auto-Lite factory in Toledo, Ohio.

Their encouragement of heavy weaponry and fearlessness turned what was largely a riot into an unstoppable force that would firmly establish a federation of unions as the major political force in the United States.

Bonnie and Clyde reportedly first met at a mutual friend's house in the slum of West Dallas in 1930. Bonnie, nineteen at the time, was staying with her friend who had broken an arm, making hot chocolate when twenty-year-old Clyde dropped by. He was the fifth child in a family of nine that had come to Dallas after their farm failed. Clyde routinely had minor altercations with the law, first being questioned over failing to return a rental car and stealing turkeys, but he seemed to pursue a life of crime only for fun, stealing and robbing even while holding legitimate jobs. The two instantly fell in love, despite Bonnie having an estranged husband, Roy Thornton, who himself was often arrested.

Four months after their meeting, Clyde was sentenced to a stint at Eastham Prison Farm. There, he was sexually assaulted and emotionally hardened by the prison system, returning home as a bitter criminal with a lethal chip on his shoulder. His sisters noticed the dark change in him, and fellow gang member Ralph Fults called him "a rattlesnake". Historians would argue that Clyde's resulting crime spree would be an act of vengeance on a system that had abused him so deeply.
Upon his release in February 1932, Clyde formed a loose gang that would add and dismiss members in an increasingly frantic trend of robberies, innumerable small jobs such as gas stations and grocery stores and around a dozen bank robberies, which would make him famous. While comrades such as Ralph Fults, Henry Methvin, and Clyde's brother Buck were among the most popular joiners, the core of the gang would always be Clyde and his "gun moll" Bonnie. Rumors of her participating in the murders were later disproven, and Bonnie's role was shown as following Clyde out of her love for him.
As their rampage across the central states continued over two years, their luck gradually began to run out. Buck was killed in a shootout, and Clyde's strategies of using state lines as legal barriers were trumped by improved police communication and pursuit by Texas Rangers. In 1934, Clyde pulled his boldest move: a breakout from Eastham where Fults and Methvin were being held. Texas was booed in the press for its lackluster prisons, and Clyde finally felt some revenge against the system, but he could not be satiated. On Easter Sunday, Clyde and Methvin gunned down two highway patrolmen in Grapevine, TX, and public sentiment turned against the gang. In Commerce, OK, the gang struck again with the murder of a police constable and kidnapping of Police Chief Percy Boyd, whom they dropped off in Kansas with gifts of a clean shirt and money. Bonnie requested that Boyd tell the papers that she didn't actually smoke cigars, referring to an old picture found in their Joplin hideout where Bonnie had taken a humorous pose.

When Boyd issued warrants for Clyde as well as Bonnie, the reality of their negative press struck her. She begged Clyde to reconsider his increasing madness and instead use his rage against the corrupt system for good. Finally, instead of visiting Methvin's parents outside of Shreveport, LA, Bonnie and Clyde broke with the rest of their gang and headed toward another item in the papers: the ongoing strike at the Auto-Lite plant in Ohio, where they hoped to do some good or at least hide out among the crowds.

The Great Depression had gutted Toledo with massive layoffs and increasing frustration by workers as banks collapsed and factories closed. When the Auto-Lite management refused to sign the contract they had promised recognizing Federal Labor Union 18384 and a 5 percent wage increase after a five-day strike in February, a much larger strike began in April. Picketers from the American Workers Party joined in, and the strikers effectively laid siege to the factory. Auto-Lite began bringing in strikebreakers, which only prompted the union to fight harder.

An article by Professor Jeff ProvineOn May 23, police arrested five strike-leaders, and a deputy strike an elderly man, which set off the temper of the 10,000-strong crowd to full riot. Rocks were thrown and fire hoses attempting to cool the riot were captured and turned on police. Gunfire soon began as police tried to take out the legs of the rioters, and Clyde Darrow's ears perked at the familiar sound. Arriving on the scene in a stolen Ford V8, he collected his favored Browning Automatic Rifle and joined the fight. Handing out extra weapons from his arsenal to men he had never met, Clyde led the charge that allowed the rioters to break into the factory and seize control. Young National Guardsmen arrived early the next morning, and the use of tear gas quickly escalated to bayonets and then raw gunfire, but the strike could not be broken.

Much of the crowd fled the battlefield, spreading the word of Clyde's unexpected and heroic appearance. Bonnie, who had excelled in writing in school, wrote her famed poem "Take a Stand" and soon fell in with union leadership. The two had swung public opinion from being cold-blooded killers back to roguish thieves standing against corruption. After the successful Battle of Toledo, union power surged in the United States, dismissing FDR's plan of labor boards and instead creating the non-socialist American Labor Party that would sweep elections in 1936 and become the dominant of the three political parties in America for the next twenty-five years.

In reality the gang did not turn north. Outlaws Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed near Methvin's parents' home by former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer and a posse that unloaded 130 rounds from BARs, shotguns, pistols, and assorted other rifles into them. Meanwhile, the five-day "Battle of Toledo" raged with the rioters unable to take the factory until finally 1,350 National Guard with additional police and private security managed to calm the city by mass arrest and large-scale gassing. Agreements finally came underway as FDR intervened and Toledo settled its general strike, today still standing one of the strongest unionized cities in the country.

A short reflection by Pietro Montevecchio

Our own work: we love it, we hate it. We are desperate when we lose our job, we’re tired by the job we do. We would like to change it, we fear the change. Yes, work is at the centre of our lives: we devote to it the greatest part of our time and surely the best part of our life, always in a sort of Augustinian wise ignorance concerning the final purpose of our working efforts.

So we work every day. We work the whole day. But why?

The Book of Genesis seems to give us an answer. In KJV Genesis 3:19 we read that God told the fallen man: “In the sweate of thy face shalt thou eate bread” and we are in the habit of interpreting this passage as God’s condemnation of Man, the penalty being daily, tiring, painful, nearly unfruitful work. This usual interpretation actually doesn’t grasp the point. In KJV Genesis 2:15, in the context of the Second Tale of the Creation, we read: “And the Lord God tooke the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dresse it, and to keepe it”.
To dress and to keep means to be the faithful gardener of God’s Eden, that is to work following the rules of the Almighty. That’s why Adam needed a help and that’s why God (KJV Genesis 2:18-19; 23) made “him an helpe meet for him… euery beast of the field, and euery foule of the aire” and finally the “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh”: the Woman.

Thus Man was not meant to live on holiday, but to co-operate with God in ceaselessly refining the Creation. The real difference between work before and after the Fall (Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ is surely one of the best depictions of life on the West of the garden of Eden) is that in the Paradise Lost Man experimented the unity of his efforts and their results, under the reliable guide of a loving God. Eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil, man did no longer need any guide, because knowledge was in himself, but he paid the price of the fracture of unity. Nothing would have ever vouched for the rightness of his efforts, nor for the fulfillment of his desires.

An article by Pietro Montevecchio Now I must confess that I have always considered God as Hegelian (leftist or rightist yet to be decided). Indeed, the history of the Fall finds its mirror in Hegel’s core idea that the whole history might be read as the history of the questioning ‘I’ which, once emerging, breaks the original unity. This ‘I’ experiences itself as distinct and apart from other beings, from customary rules. Natural world becomes an ‘object’ for it. This introduces into experience a set of ‘dualisms’ (between subject and object, man and nature, and particularly desire and duty) which are to be overcome through the dialectic sequences of alienations.

Marx turned Hegel’s view of History as a processual movement in which division is subjected to reconciliation, into a secular (but always dialectic) historical movement toward the final emancipation of the workers. This emancipation lays no longer on the shoulders of the spiritual unity, but on a new ontological unity: the society without classes, a sort of historical new Eden. Obviously, this new polis requires a new citizen, the omnilateral human being (here, from many points of view, Marx holds Nietzsche’s hand), who pursues his own happiness through a secular friendship among equals, in the community appeared at the last turn of history, where means and ends are definitively reconciled.

End of History?

Let alone any judgement about the historical experience of Communism, we must stress the it has been Alexander Kojéve who, in his famous ‘Introduction to the Reading of Hegel’ (1969), has unveiled the gap in both Marx and Hegel’s systems: the lack of a convincing onthology of the individual human being. Reading Hegel through the lens of Heidegger, Kojéve underlines that Man’s being is conditioned by its radically temporal character, its understanding of its being in time, with finitude or death as its ultimate horizon. Man, unwillingly ‘thrown’ in the World, lacks any stable onthologic foundation. It is precisely because of this lack that man experiences (or, more properly is nothing other than) desire. And that’s the point: modern capitalism, far from ruining because of its intimate contradictions (Marx’s forecast) has proved to be the most suitable instrument to satisfy Man’s desires and wishes. Man’s struggle to overcome himself and nature through struggle and contestation has come to an end. Same destiny for the ceaseless rhythm of dialectic historical evolution.

So end of History.

Is it the end of work? Notwithstanding Rifkin, I’d say the question is a bit more complex, because the onthology of desire leaves the system open to the last alienation, that is the final split between the one who desires and the object desired. Work is the path that leads the former to the latter. But it’s a path which crosses an overshadowed, sinister wood. And, as a great novelist once wrote, “between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting”. Maybe we are still working because the original fracture has not been recomposed; the thesis and the antithesis have not found their synthesis yet.

Hard to say if this is a hard destiny or not. St. Paul, herald of the ancient wisdom, while facing the heresy of escathon which was gaining ground in the Thessalonian community (an heresy according to which the history was suddenly coming to an end and everyone had to give up their work), wrote in KJV, II Thessalonian 2:2: “Let no man deceiue you by any meanes, for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sinne bee reuealed, the sonne of perdition”. The end of history was yet to come and the daily routine, the daily burden of worries, were to be considered the shelter against the coming of the Antichrist.

If it’s true that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (KJV, II Peter 3:10), otherwise the days of the Antichrist might be already among us, in this stately pleasure dome where the kings of free market encamp them still, in order to dominate even the source of our desires.

Maybe what we have to wish is that there’s still a lot of work to do.

The Eruption of Mount Rainier


PROLOGUE: 6 Months Before Eruption

SEATTLE(AP)-- Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey announced last night that they have noticed a slight increase in seismic activity in the area around Mount Rainier...

CHAPTER 1: 3 Months Before Eruption

ABC World News -- “Residents of Seattle were jolted awake this morning by an earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale....”
SAN FRANCISCO(UPI)--Seismologists at UC-Berkley have calculated that if recent seismic activity in Washington State continues along its current pattern there is at least a ten percent probability of an earthquake or volcanic eruption occurring in the Seattle area before the end of the year...

An alternate history by Chris OakleyBBC World News -- “Civil defense officials in the American states of Washington, Oregon, and California met via teleconference this afternoon to discuss what measures could be taken to evacuate Seattle if Mount Rainier should erupt...”

Multi-part article continues at Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8.

Maryland Secedes from the Union


In order to resolve the power-struggle between a pro-Confederate legislature and a pro-Union governor, Maryland's House of Delegates voted to secede from the Union.

Although the decision was broadly welcomed in Baltimore and the eastern part of the State, the West remained firmly pro-Union. This support enabled President Abraham Lincoln to send Federal Troops into Washington, Allegany, Garrett and Frederick counties to support a Western State's retrocession into the Union.

And so in reaction to the House vote, Hagerstown was declared the capital of the State of West Maryland. Mobilization orders were issued for the formation of a Maryland Eastern Shore Infantry for the Union. And because of the proximity to Washington City, bridges were burnt to forestall an invasion of the North. The vote ensured that the struggle for the future of the Union would be fought on the Potomac itself, within the geography's George Washington's capital.

But the fates chose otherwise. Because Lincoln himself was in dreadful ill health. Within weeks, he would die and his successor Hamlin would relocate the Union capital to Philadelphia. And it would soon become clear that it was Hamlin's own counter-productive decisions during Lincoln's final days that had directly led to the secession of Maryland.

in authoring this post we have re-purposed content from Wikipedia, Alternate History 1 and Alternate History 2 web sites.

Jadwiga's Betrothal


Demonstrating the indisputable charm that had rightfully earned him the name "William the Courteous", the Duke of Austria gained the approval of the lords of lesser Poland to marry their eleven year old monarch, Jadwiga.

Technically speaking Her Royal Highness' official title was King because Polish law had no provision for a female ruler. Therefore she had been crowned with the masculine title Hedvig Rex Poloniæ which differentiated her from a Queen Consort. But behind that seemingly odd choice was an issue of real importance to the Polish elite - ambition, the pressing need to avoid a diminution of national status by allowing their monarch to become a Queen Consort of a foreign power.

For this very reason, the personal union had been terminated after the death of her predecessor, Louise I - her father who had reigned as King of Hungary, Croatia and also Poland. And therefore the overriding reason for the success of the meeting in Kraków was a collective leadership decision for their monarch to marry into a lower status Ducal power, thus bringing Polish authority to the fore.

But of course there were still those members of the Court that strongly disagreed, in fact they had argued for a bolder move, a marriage to Jagiełło the Grand Duke of Lithuania [1]. There was an obvious attraction to such a Union that would create the largest state in Europe. And moreover, both States shared a common interest being hard pressed by both the Teutonic Knights and also the Mongols. However there were important differences too. Although Poland had turned to Rome in 966, the Lithuanian elite included Pagans, and their population was comprised of largely Slavic easterners of Orthodox persuasion. Even though it might not diminish Poland, surely such a union would dilute the homogeneity of its cultural identity. And so the pro-Austria camp won the day, but the consequences would not be apparent until 1410, when the Teutonic Knights crushed the Polish Army at the battle of Grüwald, the greatest battle of the age. Surely on that day Polish Lords lived to regret the absence of Lithuanian allies who might possibly have saved their Empire from destruction.

in authoring this post we have re-purposed content from Wikipedia web site. 1] this is what actually happened, leading to the Union of Krewo.

Golden Horde triumph at the Terek River


In a desperate battle fought on the banks of the Terek River in the North Caucasus, the forces of Tokhtamysh khan of the Blue Horde prevailed, saving the capital city, Sarai from falling to Timur's invading army.

Having briefly united the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state, it had taken all of his guile and diplomacy to prevent some of the the emirs going over to Timur on the eve of battle. Of course Tokhtamysh himself was no stranger to making war on a former ally, that was in fact the cause of the entire conflict.

Mistakenly believing he could defeat the Ilkhanate Chobanids and capture the disputed territories of the Caucasus since the days of Berke Khan, he had, in 1385 Tokhtamysh, with an army of 50,000 (or five tumens), invaded Persia and taken Tabriz. Returning north they took 200,000 slaves from Caucasus, including tens of thousands of Azeri Turks from the districts of Shirvan, Mugan, and Daghestan. This proved to be a fatal error for, who Tokhtamysh moved north from the Caucasus, thus allowing his Ilkhanate rivals to side with Timur, who annexed Persia to his own expanding kingdom. Furious, Tokhtamysh turned back and made war on his former ally. Eventually, Tokhtamysh conceded defeat and withdrew to the steppe. However, in 1387 he suddenly invaded Transoxiana, the heart of Timur's realm. Unfortunately for Tokhtamysh, heavy snow forced him back to the steppe.There he made his stand, and was fortunate to recover sufficiently in order to overcome Timur the Conqueror.
The Sinking of the Conte di Savoia


It is by no means unheard of that a small naval squadron of naval units had a major influence on the outcome of a whole war, even though it is rare that such a success is bought dearly by one of the greatest catastrophes in civil navigation.

“Long live the First of May! Long live international Proletarism!” read the cable of Lt Commander Grigori Ivanovich Shchedrin of the Soviet submarine “Kirovets“ to his home base in Kronstadt, when his boat and her sister ship “Voroshilovets“ ship broke out into the Atlantic to support the Republican Government in the Spanish Civil War on May 1st 1936.

The two years old Soviet subs were especially designed for laying mine fields, a function the old Imperial Russian Navy had already successfully tested before the Great War. Thus, the first success of the Soviet boats might be the severe mine damage the Nationalist cruiser “Canarias” received en route from her base in Ferol in Northern Spain to break the Republican blockade of the Strait of Gibraltar.

An alternate history by Dirk Puehl Since the larger part of the Spanish navy remained loyal to the Republic, “Caudillo” Franco had severe problems to ship his insurgent troops from North Africa to the Spanish Mainland. His Italian and German allies supported him with aerial transports but the majority was to be transported by sea. Thus, a convoy was assembled in Tangier to ship contingents of the mutinous Spanish Foreign Legion and mercenaries to Spain. Among them was the Italian liner “Conte di Savoias”, chartered by Franco’s supporter, the Spanish billionaire Juan March. The 800 feet “Conte” was constructed for the accommodation of roughly 2.500 passengers, when the convoy left Tangier, probably twice that number were aboard for the relatively short passage to land the troops near Cadiz. Escorted by the light cruiser “Almirante Cervera” and under the cover of Italian bombers, the convoy left Tangiers on September 9th to be immediately stalked by the Republican submarine C-3 acting in concert with the two Soviet subs.

While the Italian bombers were driven off by the heavy anti-aircraft fire from the Spanish battleship “Jaime I” and two destroyers off Cape Espartel and the Republican blockade of the Strait held, the convoy decided to make for the Atlantic and set a course for Ferol. In the night of September 10th, the three subs attacked. A fan of torpedoes fired by “Voroshilovets“ hit the “Canarias” who sank within minutes while at least two projectiles from “Kirovets“ and C-3 struck the “Conte”. The big liner turned to the side while the three submarines crept closer, surfaced and attacked the rest of the convoy with their guns, making a rescue of survivors of the two capital ships impossible. More than 5.000 people were dead by morning.

The loss of life and war material proved to be a grave setback for “Caudillo” Franco and his Nationalist insurgents in the Civil War, while the sinking of the “Conte di Savoias” is rated amongst the most severe maritime disasters in history.

Monroe's Third Term


America's first three-term President James Monroe was born in his parents' house located in a wooded area of Westmoreland County, Virginia.

A Founding Father, he was of the planter class and fought in the American Revolutionary War. Facing little opposition from the fractured Federalist Party, Monroe was easily elected president in 1816, winning over 80 percent of the electoral vote and becoming the last president during the First Party System era of American politics.

As president, he bought Florida from Spain and sought to ease partisan tensions, embarking on a tour of the country that was generally well received. As nationalism surged, partisan fury subsided and the "Era of Good Feelings" ensued until the Panic of 1819 struck and dispute over the admission of Missouri embroiled the country in 1820. Nonetheless, Monroe won near-unanimous reelection.

After 1824, and imitating Washington, he had preferred to lay down power like his predecessors. But seeing the splintering/infighting of his successors, Jackson, Adams, Crawford and Clay he ended up throwing himself into the ring again and declared his candidacy so as to keep the party unified.

in authoring this post, we have re-purposed content from Wikipedia and the Alternate History web sites.

Exalted First Leader Adam Weishaupt formed the Order of the Illuminati in Switzerland. Although thought to be disbanded, this powerful body [REST OF POST NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR SECURITY CLEARANCE. FNORD.]

"Ratman" Robert A. Taylor
Robbie's #tweetfromalternatehistory now available on Twitter and his latest e-book "The Tree Of Knowledge (The Chelsea Perkins Trilogy)" on Amazon.

Orson Welles' diatribe against William Randolph Hearst, Citizen Kane is denied a Hollywood premiere because of the newspaper mogul's influence. Hearst and Welles battle over the release of the film for 6 months before Welles is forced to surrender to Hearst's wishes. The film is finally released in the 1970's, when it quickly becomes a runaway hit.

Comrade Mary Harris Jones was born in Ireland. After emigrating to America as a girl, she became enthralled with President Walt Whitman and joined the Communist Party. Her formidable speaking talents made her one of the party’s top lights, and in 1900, she became Illinois’ first woman governor, serving until her death in 1906.

After several redesigns and prototypes, Thomas Edison begins construction on what will be his final version of Charles Babbage’s difference engine, to be unveiled on the 50th anniversary of Babbage’s design at the end of the month. The Edison Difference Engine, or Eddie as they become known, will change the world.

The Oueztecan Navy engaged the mightiest sailors on the globe, the Polynesians, at Bohol, in one of the largest naval battles in the history of the Polynesian Ocean. Although the Oueztecans emerged victorious, it was at such a high cost that they never fought the Polynesians again.

A selection of alternate histories by Robbie Taylor 1920
Srinivasa Ramanujan emerged from surgery weak, but alive. A cancerous tumor had been removed from his stomach barely in time to keep him from dying. Ramanujan lived another thirty years, co-authoring papers with Albert Einstein and J. Michael Oppenheimer, and popularizing the teaching of special relativity in his native India.

Congress of Nation negotiators attempt to strike a peace between the breakaway Jovians and the Q’Bar by meeting with them at the neutral location of Barnard’s Star. Although the talks eventually prove fruitful, many millions die while they are going on.

Jesse Presley married the daughter of an officer at his old Army base in Germany, 22-year old Priscilla Beaulieu. Their marriage produces the King’s only child, Elsie Margaret.

He last vestiges of the plague are wiped out by advanced medical treatments at the Alternate History Academy. Historians predict a swift return to normality and a steady flow of access to important events in history that never occurred today.

American spy plane was shot down over the German Reich, proving that President Strom Thurmond’s denial of American surveillance of Germany was a lie. The international embarrassment further isolated the U.S. from Germany’s growing dominance in world affairs.

Birth of General Grant


Incomparable Civil War General Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio.

Denied office by bureaucratic rules, he was widely considered by his contemporaries of the Reconstruction era to be the "greatest President we never had".
The Confederate military was defeated under his dogged leadership, he effectively ended the war and secession with the surrender of Robert E. Lee's army at Appomattox. But peace would not last long for Grant, and he was soon dispatched south to deal with Maximilian of Mexico and the French army which had taken over the country under the authority of Napoleon III [1].
In authoring this post we have re-purposed content from Wikipedia and the Alternate History web sites. [1] in reality decline [2] addressed in OTL by Rawlins.

New World Order


Fifty nations gathered in San Francisco, California to begin the United Nations Conference on International Organizations.

The goal was to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars between countries, and to provide a platform for dialogue. It would contain multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions.
Seven years later, the UN's head-quarters was opened in the Bay Area. It was a controversial choice of location by the U.N. Interim Site Committee. They had been lobbied intensely by East Coast power-brokers who argued that New York City was a world capital with international transport routes. However their logic was self-defeating because the political elite wanted a structure that faced eastwards towards Asia.

The decision had a number of profound consequences. The development of infrastructure to support the UN was indeed a boon to the local economy. However this was matched by a fast-growing counter-culture. By the late 1960s, the UN headquarters was the focal point of anti-war protests and demonstrations that the U.N. Interim Site Committee had not anticipated. Nor had they considered the conspiracy angle, with many of the protestors starting to believe that the UN had been located to suite the needs of a shadowy government - a true New World Order.

The Triumph of Maximinus Thrax


The barbarian Emperor Maximinus Thrax entered Aquileia after soldiers of the II Parthica finally broke through the city's defences.

The news of the breakthrough forced Caesar Gordian III to flee for his life because his father and grandfather had both been killed in the revolt. And the Senators behind those elections had their heads were cut off and placed on poles outside Rome to greet the rightful Emperor.
Maximinus Thrax had conducted large-scale operations deep in Germania Magna, and planned for the eventual annexation of the entire region. And so he set about establishing a Vistula-Dniester by conquering all Germanic land up to the Baltic Coast. This expansion introduced two new challenges for his successors. Firstly, to assimilate unRomanized Slavs and Balts into the Empire. And secondly, even more difficult, to make innovative use of the heavy plough to ensure that the new provinces would be profitable.

Siege of Siena Lifted


After eighteen long months of siege the Florentine-Imperial army withdrew from the Tuscan City State of Siena.

Although it had been in existence for four centuries, its survival had become precarious ever since the beginning of the Italian War. When the Republic was defeated by the rival Duchy of Florence in alliance with the Spanish crown its future independence looked very bleak indeed. But due to the resolve of its defenders, the City State held on long enough to force the withdrawal.

And in so doing, the Grand Duchy abandoned its ill-fated attempt to force the incorporation of the Republic of Siena. Inadvertently it had spawned a dystopian monster, permitting the ruling Strozzi Family to expand the City State into a Sienese Empire.

At the heart of this remarkable success was the Monte dei Paschi, the oldest surviving bank in the world. And the financier of mercenary armies that conquered Southern Italy in the forthcoming centuries.

Birth of Oliver Ellsworth


3rd Chief Justice of the United States Oliver Ellsworth born in Windsor, Connecticut.

An American lawyer and politician, a revolutionary against British rule, a drafter of the United States Constitution, he also served as United States Senator from Connecticut. While at the Federal Convention, Ellsworth moved to strike the word National from the motion made by Edmund Randolph of Virginia.

Randolph had moved successfully to call the government the National Government of United States. Ellsworth moved that the government should continue to be called the United States Government.

In 1800 his conciliatory negotiations with France contributed to Napoleon's sudden choice three years later to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million [1]. But he suffered ill health on his return journey across the Atlantic. Fighting the temptation to resign, he return to the United States where he served in post until his death in 1807.

in authoring this post we have re-purposed content from Wikipedia and Alternate History web sites. [1] speculation [2] in reality, he stepped down from his position of Chief Justice was this sickness and John Adams appointed John Marshall as his successor. In this scenario, when Ellsworth finally does step down, it will be Jefferson appointing his replacement. No Marbury v. Madison, and thus a much weaker Supreme Court with no power of judicial review. This would have major changes in all of US history. Especially with regard to nullification and slavery.

We, the People..


The Plural Executive took the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street. It was the triumph of good governance that Benjamin Franklin had fought for at the Philadelphia Convention. And if he cut a less than striking image well perhaps that was the whole point, a first step towards collective responsibility.

That truth had been self-evident when he chaired the convention, an arrangement forced upon the delegates by the tragic death of George Washington. Unbound, he strongly advocated a national government based upon the principles of the Pennsylvania Constitution which he had so recently played a major role in drafting.

Instead of a a presidency, the new constitution proposed an unpaid, plural executive without veto or salary and a single house with states represented by population size. And no Senate, an unnecessary House that Franklin warned would be filled by landowners.

Of course the loss of Washington removed both the principal candidate for head of the state and also the very man who could have shaped the office of the presidency. And perhaps with the General in the chair, both Washington and Franklin might have chosen to remain silent, adding gravitas but little direction to the proceedings. But instead Franklin was in the chair, demonstrating firm leadership. And the mastery of political genius that he had used to negotiate an endless series of loans in Paris that had ultimately bankrupted the French Monarchy and driven that nation into a state of revolution.

During that nine year service, the Continental Congress had forced a series of self-serving individuals upon him that had greatly hindered his progress. Understanding that good governance could so easily be undermined by human weakness, Franklin realised a great truth, that the direction of the United States could never be bestowed upon a single individual. Better that a small committee, with representation from across the States, worked through the critical decisions that would inevitably confront the infant republic.

Farthest West

92 A.H.

An invading army of Arabs, Berbers and Iberian Jews under the command of the Muslim Governor of North Africa, Musa ibn Nusair defeated King Rodrigo and his Visigoth nobility at the Battle of Guadalete. Soon afterwards, they captured the Visigothic capital of Toledo, and the Christian Kingdom of Hispania fell.

And yet despite their best endeavours the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula struggled to develop into the Moorish Kingdom of al-Gharb, a sandwich of land "where the Earth ends, the sea begins" located between the larger al-Andalus and the Altlantic Ocean.

Because the next three centuries were consumed by a series of increasingly determined Christian attempts to recover the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. Finally, in 537 A.H. Afonso VI King of Castille invited Henry of Burgundy and his Crusaders to force out the Moors. Being a younger brother to the heir to the Kingdom of France, Henry was seeking an alternative realm. Had he been successful, he would have become Count of Portucale and given the hand in marriage of Afonso's daughter.

Although the recovery attempt ended in bitter defeat, the Moors realized that the Christians would eventually prevail. Because the region known as Lusitania had been founded by the Romans who had brought Christianity to the shores of Europes most south-west point. The Visigoths had after all only filled the vacuum left by the departing Romans, and the Christians therefore laid historic claim to the region.

Although the recovery attempt ended in bitter defeat, the Moors realized that the Christians would eventually prevail. Because the region known as Lusitania had been founded by the Romans who had brought Christianity to the shores of Europes most south-west point. The Visigoths had after all only filled the vacuum left by the departing Romans, and the Christians therefore laid historic claim to the region.

Knowing that their time of occupation was short, the embattled Moorish enclave set their sights "farthest west". The establishment of a set of Moorish colonies on the Eastern Seaboard of the vast Atlantian continent: Maghrib al-Aqsa. But of course it was a continuation of a long-term historical cycle, because the region was a natural staging ground dating back to the time of sea-faring nations such as the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians that had displaced the indigenous Celts.

Robbie Taylor, Creator of Today in Alternate History Chris Oakley, guest writer on Today in Alternate History Dirk Puehl, Editor of #Onthisday Professor Jeff Provine, Editor of This Day in Alternate History
Jackie Rose, guest writer on Today in Alternate History Marko Bosscher, tours Natural History museums at Eruditorum. Alternate Historian, Editor of Today in Alternate History Pietro Montevecchio, Guest Reader of #Onthisday

Today's six-way post includes contributions from Dirk Puehl, Marko Bosscher, Reverend Robbie A. Taylor, Pietro Montevecchio, Professor Jeff Provine and the Editor.