November 23rd, 2004, 01:26 PM
IN OTL Eugene Debbs was jailed for his anti war activities. He polled about a million votes whilst in prison in the 1920 election.
Any idea of a POD in which, probably whilst in jail, he wins an election between 1916 and 1928 and ends US involvement in the Great War?
Or is it asb
November 23rd, 2004, 02:05 PM
Perhaps a POD where in 1770's Benjamin Franklin invents Socialism, it is accepted by many but isnt accepted by the government due to a group of Virginians led by Thomas Jefferson compromising with Alexander Hamilton, the capital of the US will be on the Virginia side of the Potomoc, and they as well as other southern states supports capitalism over Franklins Socialism.
Socialism remains a popular alternative but never with the majority of the people until the late nineteenth century when it appeals to freed slaves?
Not sure if it will work though
November 23rd, 2004, 08:37 PM
That POD is too early to realistically assume would even come into existance. For a president Debs under these circumstances, one needs to have two major changes.
1. A more sucessful socialist party. At the very least, there needs to be more labor strife, a more militant labor movement.
A good place to start is the great strike of 1877. In OTL, local militas sided with the strikers and gave their weapons to them. The Federal goverment's attempts to quell the strike caused workers to actually take over some cities (St. Louis and Pittsburg), in the end some federal troops were withdrawn from the South to put the uprising down.
Let's say as an initial POD the radical republicans maintain more control of the republican party, and as a result reconstruction is longer, more costly, and bogs down more troops. In addition, the Capital wing of the Republicans are that much weaker.
The strike happens pretty much on cue. However, the Federal government does not have the troops to shuffle around as easilly. The Federal government is given a choice between pulling units from the South, and risking a second uprising there, or attempting to supress the strikers on the cheap. It goes with the second, and as a result, there are more stunning losses than OTL, with Chicago falling to the worker's councils as well. In order to get the worker's councils to voluntarilly disband, the federal government agrees to sweeping labor reform, including an 8 hour day, 40 hour workweek, and laws limiting child labor. A Railroad Labor Act is passed during this period as well, though more generalized laws regulating collective bargaining are still in the future.
The working class is emboldened by these victories to a degree not seen in America in OTL. Though the supreme court begins immediately to chip away at the new Federal law (citing concerns under the 14th ammedment), many laborers who had a taste of political power in the uprising of 1877 begin to run for office under various local labor parties. These somewhat electorally sucessful, gaining seats on city councils, and in some places, mayors (though electoral machines keep them out of control of the largest cities).
When the SP finally coaleces, it is far more coherent than OTL. In OTL, there was constant factionalism between reformist 'sewer socialists', and the group that later went on to form the IWW. Coming out of a history where a general strike provided real legislative reform, both sides come to more agreement that both radical action and political engagement is needed by the SP.
Debs biography pretty much proceeds as in OTL. When head of the ARU, his strike in 1894 still goes down in a historic defeat, as a federal judge still issues an injunction against the strike, and the federal goverment still puts mail on the Pullman cars. Debs conversion to Socialism happens on schedule, and he becomes the leader of the SP, but an SP many times stronger due to the history of the uprising of 77.
The 1912 race was even more hair raising than OTL, with the Democrats garnering a comparably commanding win, but only with 35% of the vote, with the remainder split fairly equally between the Republicans, Progressives, and Socialists.
(note, I'm not as familliar with WW1 as with the SP, so this is going to be pretty arsy)
2. For Debs to take power during WW1, either the US needs to enter the war early (so as to effect the 1916 election), or else have the war last much longer than in OTL.
The first requires less changes. Basically, if we imagine a more heavyhanded, hawkish president elected in 1912, it's possible that there would be enough public outcry about the war to spank the president the next term. One problem would be that under this TL, the SP would have a substantial contingent in congress, though probably not the majority. Still, it could be enough to make a formal declaration of war impossible. Certainly, it would make it hard to imagine arresting a man who would be the spiritual leader of a party in congress (if not a Senator from Indiana by that point or something).
Perhaps we can imagine an evil, not particularly compentant version of Wilson, who attempted to pull a Truman and went to war without congressional approval in early 1915. Debs, as the leader of the SP in the senate, speaks out against the war, but is ignored. He calls for a national march on Washington for peace, and hundreds of thousands of people congregate. The national guard instigates a riot, however, and Debs is framed with plotting an overthrow of Wilson's government. National sentiment, however, is now deeply against Wilson, and Debs sweeps in, despite being in prison, in 1916, pulling U.S. troops out of Europe.
November 23rd, 2004, 09:57 PM
You could go with the 1880s-1890s, the silversists etc, Cleveland being less successful and simply collapse the economy and default on foreign debt. That would lead to mass deprivation, ideal farming ground for the socialists
November 24th, 2004, 06:40 AM
POD 1912. The regular Republicans win after TR has a heart attack. The Republican bankss loan even more money to the British and join the war earlier after the banks figure out they need to get their money back by loaning US government money to the Allies. The Democrats paint them as warmongers, because they are. We are at war in 1916, just before the election.
At the Democratic convention the delegates eject the urban labor union delegates. The split between the regular Republicans and the reform Republicans is just as bitter. They join forces and go for a more moderate, nonsocialist policy, but with a great deal of reform. They win the electoral vote, and give voting rights to both Blacks and Women to ensure that they have a voting group that wants them to stay in office.
When the government attempts to keep Debs out of office (and themselves out of jail), the completely untrained government units are defeated by the more enthusiastic, if just as untrained proConstitutional units. Debbs is sworn in by one of the five Supreme Court Justices not on the lam, and orders the US army out of Germany.
Britain, Germany, France, Russia, and Austria-Hungary make peace and unite against the socialists. They exile them all to America, and ten million new voters keep Debbs in power in the 1922 election.
November 24th, 2004, 03:35 PM
Thank you gentlemen. You just gave me the final piece I needed for a timeline Im working on. I will be sure to give credit where credit is due.
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