AHC: US Becomes A Parliamentary System

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Omar04, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. Omar04 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 11, 2018
    POD can be anytime after 1900. A cherry on top could be a voting system switch from first past the post.
     
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  2. piratedude Pirate Lord of the Great Lakes

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    Sep 8, 2017
    I don't see it happening. I can see individual states doing it, but by the 1900s Americans are treating the constitution like a second gospel, they aren't about to change the national government so dramatically
     
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  3. David T Well-Known Member

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    Nov 8, 2007
    If there were any possibility of this at all, you would need a POD before 1900--probably during Reconstruction. To quote an old post of mine:

    ***

    Some congressional Republicans seemed to advocate de facto establishment of parliamentary government during the Andrew Johnson impeachment. Indeed, that was seen to be the real issue in the impeachment fight by some observers at the time.

    Consider what was written by a friend of J.A. Garfield (quoted in W.R. Brock, *An American Crisis: Congress and Reconstruction 1865-1867*, Harper Torchbooks edition, p. 260): "The next great question to be decided in our history is this--is the National Legislature to be as omnipotent in American politics as the English is in English politics?...May we not anticipate a time when the President will no more think of vetoing a bill passed by Congress than the British Crown thinks of doing the same thing?"

    Also note the remarks of Wisconsin Senator Timothy Howe on the Tenure of Office Act: when a Democratic Senator referred to the President's "own cabinet" Howe specifically denied that it was such. It was, he said, "the Cabinet of the people." He compared the American and British systems and said of cabinet members that "it is no more necessary that they should be on confidential terms with the president than that they should be on confidential terms with the representatives of the people."(Brock, p. 259)

    But remember that they said such things because they were facing a *hostile* president--one who was totally out of touch with the great majority of Union Party voters of 1864 who had elected Lincoln and him. There is just no way that they would develop similar feelings about Lincoln--who might on occasion be bitterly criticized by fellow Republicans but whom they nevertheless recognized as one of their own. If Lincoln were at all successful and it seemed the Republicans would be likely to retain the White House in 1868, the last thing they would want to do would be to weaken the presidency.

    Indeed, even in OTL I doubt that such views would prevail even if Johnson were convicted. Once Grant would be elected president in 1868 (after a few months interim rule by Wade) it seems unlikely that Congressional Republicans would adhere to such an unorthodox position on legislative-executive relations. To the extent that they came to such a position even temporarily in OTL, it was only due to extreme frustration with Johnson's systematic sabotage of Congress's Reconstruction policy (originally, John Sherman did not even want to include Cabinet officers in the Tenure of Office Act). With a popular president of their own party, they would probably revert to more traditional practice.
     
  4. Minuteman Well-Known Member

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    Apr 9, 2018
    Woodrow Wilson wanted it, though the most he could do was try and get some semi-parliamentary system in place.
     
  5. Omar04 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 11, 2018
    Was my initial thoughts, was just curious if there was some obscure butterfly out there.
     
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  6. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Jun 9, 2014
    Don’t know if it’s obscure, but the 22nd Amendment limiting the president to two terms is kludgeware.

    And I can the national conversation going differently.
     
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  7. TimTurner Cartoon Phanatic

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    best post-1900 PODs probably are around the Depression.
     
  8. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

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    Which is good for a laugh given his attitude in 1919. He sure wasn't willing to defer to Congress (and in particular the Senate) then.
     
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  9. Expat Monthly Donor

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    Oct 26, 2007
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    Washington, DC
    It’s true, you’d have to look for crisis PODs, so it depends how you feel about the possibility of massive unrest taking hold in the US. If you come up with a way to satisfactorily disrupt the system and faith in it, you could rewrite the Constitution in any number of directions.

    With a very open POD like this, you shouldn’t have any problem, imo. But if you believe the American system is impervious to being shaken to its foundations, well then this would not be the scenario for you.
     
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  10. Vnix Egal bei welchem Wetter!

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    What about him getting that semi-parliamental system through somehow before getting murdered by an extremist? That might at least keep the semi system alive and possibly galvanise Americans to implement Wilson's vision
     
  11. Quintuplicate Well-Known Member

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    Nov 20, 2018
    Um, the Constitution said he had to?
     
  12. Minuteman Well-Known Member

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    Apr 9, 2018
    My thinking was that Wilson loses in 1916, Hughes has a terrible presidency from 16(Wilson and Marshall thought making Hughes Secretary of State and then resigning if they lost)-21 and Wilson comes back in 1920, with firm Democratic majorities in both houses. Without the stress of the 17-21 term Wilson's health issues are butterflied.