An Age of Science - America in the Feynman Era

Chapter 3: the Chicanos walk out
3. the Chicanos walk out

Meanwhile, in California, Governor Feynman faced a more localised crisis, and one that was very dear to him, as on the first day of March, across East Los Angeles, 15,000 Chicanos, the bulk of those numbers made of high school students but also encompassing sympathetic faculty and community members, walked out of their classrooms in seven high schools to signal their protest against the lack of conditions and opportunities for Mexican American students in California to prosper.

The Chicano community, and the student movement, had been great supporters of Feynman during his campaign, but they still found the Governor’s measures lacking, while their greatest grievances stood with the County Board of Education and staff members who they believed had prejudice against them. An infamous letter was distributed by a teacher stating: “Most of the Mexican-Americans have never had it so good. Before the Spanish came, he was an Indian grubbing in the soil, and after the Spaniards came, he was a slave. It seems to me that America must be a very desirable place, witness the number of ‘wetbacks’ and migrants both legal and illegal from Mexico.” That letter outraged the community.

The following ten days the protests kept growing, with a particularly intensive escalation occurring on the 6th, when Victoria Castro, one of the student leaders, having been able to pull a great coup as her allies, entered one of the schools, convincing students to join up, while she distracted the staff, increasing the awareness of the movement.

When on the 11th an Educational issues Coordinating Committee was set up by the community to represent them in the negotiations with the Board of Education, the leaders of the movement were surprised as they received a call from none other than the Governor of California’s office, saying that Richard Feynman would like to meet with them to discuss their grievances and find common ground and strategy for the future.

At the insistence of the Governor, one of the School Boards ceded its installations to host a meeting between Governor Feynman, his Superintendent Wilson Riles and several leading figures of the Chicano Walkout movement, including teacher Sal Castro, perhaps the godfather of the movement, and student activists Moctesuma Esparza and Victoria Castro.

There, the representatives pushed forward their demands, which would later be called ‘The Chicano Manifesto’ and have a great amount of impact in future policy.

Amnesty for every protestor headed the list, as the schools had already shown they were ready to call the authorities to take down the protestors (if cowed somewhat by the arrival of the Governor). Feynman found this quite agreeable, since the students had been within their right to protest. Compulsory bilingual and bicultural education for Mexican-American students in schools where they are the majority, open to all others at request, with training provided to teach the staff Spanish language and increase their knowledge and appreciation of the Spanish language, with an increase in salary on compliance. Feynman argued for the removal of the compulsory clause and instead offer it on a voluntary basis throughout the school district (and indeed spoke of plans to expand it state-wide), and found the idea of pursuing a fully-bilingual staff very ingenious. After all, teachers need to be able to communicate with their students.

Next, came the need to remove any staff members found in prejudice against Mexican Americans and their culture and heritage, a demand that the Governor understood and found fitting with the civil rights acts being passed on the federal level. On the matter of creating textbooks reflecting Mexican American contributions to American society, Feynman vowed to make the State Curriculum Commission work on that. He did not, however, adhere to the idea of reserving the administration of Mexican American majority schools to Mexican Americans alone, believing in a meritocratic system. He believed that this was, however, coherent with having teachers with too great dropout rates assessed by a citizen committee made of the community organisers.

The need to clean the education administrations was also becoming clear to Feynman. Upon hearing and reading about some events, he felt a dread at the thought of university education being as corrupt as the high school level. Wilson Riles, a veteran of such environments, put forward ideas to create administrators in charge of the educational standards of schools, while the Governor said he would enforce measures to prevent discrimination against teachers based on their political views. He also found the idea of involving parents as teachers’ aids and in charge of recreational activities as being an honourable concept, and one that his California's First Lady Gweneth would later take on for her cause, fitting her like a glove.

They also agreed on the demand to improve, renovate and increase the facilities and the material present at the schools, and said they would promote such improvements with the Board of Education.

Although not seeing eye-to-eye on all things, both parties left the meeting saying good developments had occurred, and hoping to see what was next. The negotiated platform had been agreed upon and, from the on, the Board of Education felt pressures from below, above and soon within to accept the changes, granting a great victory for the Chicano movement, that kept growing within the city and the State, as the awareness flourished after those events.

These talks also helped to shape much of the Feynman Doctrine on Education, prompting the Governor to strive for the bilingual requirements, both on the curriculum and by the staff, and on the creation of laws against the discrimination by political or cultural backgrounds on the schools of California. Under Riles, the School Curriculum in California also began to adhere to a more Latin-friendly view of History, promoting the accomplishments of Chicanos and Americans working together and their shared history in California.

Perhaps the influence of the Chicano Walkout can be seen in the future of its leaders, in particular Sal Castro, who was soon after invited to work in the State Curriculum Commission and, later on, under Superintendent Riles in Sacramento, an opportunity he took to represent his community and his beliefs in Sacramento. Esparza and Victoria Castro, still young, would have to wait a few more years for their own paths to take them to places, but still all began in those fateful walkouts for justice.
Chapter 4: the Great month of May
4. the Great month of May

The rumblings that would characterize the year of 1968 were far from being unique to American shores. Since late March, there had been conflicts between left-wing student groups and the administration of the University of Sorbonne, following protests against class discrimination which was perceived as latent in the university. After a police siege, the protestors disbanded, but they left their wishes expressed, forming the Mouvement du 22 Mars.

After weeks of conflict, in which the administration used threats of expulsion as a weapon against their detractors, the administration finally made its last stand by closing down the university on the 2nd of May. The following days, the students’ union and their teachers’ counterpart allied to march in protest against the police intervention, the closure of the institution and the threats of expulsion. On May 6, more than 20 thousand marched against the Sorbonne. The police answered with bastons and tear gas, and with arrests of hundreds of students.

This attack only served to intensify the revolutionary fervour of the students, who were joined by their high school and working-class comrades in solidarity; at the Arc of Triumph in Paris, they demanded the dropping of all criminal charges to the students, that the police left the university and that the universities be reopened.

Sympathies for the students were rising, both at home and abroad, with American singers taking up the Parisian cause, and, one week later, a million people marched through the streets of Paris as the major workers’ unions joined the students and declared a strike in solidarity; that very day French Prime Minister Georges Pompidou announced the release of the prisoners and reopening of the Sorbonne. If the intention was to end the protests by answering their demands, the French government was to become bitterly disappointed as the students re-occupied the university, declared it an autonomous “people’s university” and promoted popular action committees throughout Paris to express grievances against the government and society.

On week later, on 20 May, ten million workers were on strike, or about two-thirds of the French workforce, virtually bringing French economy to a halt. Feeling cornered, the French government assembled with the unions and employers’ organisations, attempting to negotiate a truce by increasing the minimum wage by 25% and the average salary by 10%, an offer the workers rejected as inadequate.

On 28 May, the head of the Federation of the Democratic and Socialist Left declared ‘there is no more State’, offering to form a new government. The following day, the President of France and her Hero, Charles de Gaulle, fled Paris, disappearing for a few hours before reappearing in the French base in Baden, leaving the national government incapable of functioning, but returning with the knowledge the Army supported him.

On May 30, de Gaulle dissolved the National Assembly and called for new elections, while refusing to resign. He announced new elections and ordered the workers back to work, while it leaked to the media that the Army was surrounding Paris. Over the following weeks, revolutionary fervour waned among workers and students and order was restored to Paris. But nobody could forget how the student movement had been close to deposing the government of France.

In fact, the world was shaken by the events in Paris; in Germany, student movements rose against their own authorities, demanding an improvement of student rights and to disempower administrators that had been involved with Nazi atrocities.

Elsewhere in Europe, other waves were being made.
A bit late, I know, sorry about that. Vacations will do that to a man.

Anyway, this is the first of two chapters that, while staying in OTL events that aren't really affected, I think are important to set up the mood of the period and of the world. I'll probably do one of these for every relevant event through the rest of the TL. Think of it as one of those essays Victor Hugo or Tolstoy like to put in the middle of their novels (and here I am comparing myself to those two)

Anyway, I hope you liked it and, if you aren't really that interested in these small cutaways to outside affected events, do tell me, I may reconsider my policy
More good stuff :)
Those protests at the Sorbonne could be a good POD for someone to play with :)

One day I'll actually try a May 68 timeline. I have a story set in it, but it's narrative and not dealing with alternate history. But it has great potential and there's at a least a great timeline on it on this forum
Chapter 5: it's Spring in Prague
5. it’s Spring in Prague

Beyond the Iron Wall, matters were heating as, in Czechoslovakia, the local Communist Party, led by First Secretary Alexander Dubcek, had started to campaign for extensive reforms in the socialist society that had reigned for twenty years already, to follow more closely to the democratic tradition of Czechoslovakia which, during the stormy interwar period, had alone among its neighbours failed to succumb to tyrannies of some kind or another.

On March 4, censorship was abolished in Czechoslovakia, freeing the media from being the State’s puppet to its fiercest critic. This was the first step into the program Dubcek dubbed ‘socialism with a human face’. In his program, it was planned to further the freedom of the press, speech, movement and change the emphasis of industry to the production of consumption goods, the federalisation of Czechoslovakia between its Czech and Slovak parts and eventually the creation of a multiparty system. In ten years, it stated, a new form of democratic socialism would be fully implemented in the country. In all its proclamations, however, the Party was careful not to denigrate the policies that had come before, calling them merely necessary in the past but having become obsolete due to the new conditions of the working class, free under socialism.

To fight the loss of value of exports, there were discussions on liberalising the economy, and debates between those who were open to create a mixed economy with market components and those who upheld the virtues of the planned system.

From Moscow, the Soviets eyed these reforms with great concern – many feared that the calls for reform were veiled criticisms of their own policies and that, with the liberalisation attempts, Czechoslovakia was merely stepping away from the Warsaw Pact and joining the West in defiance to the Soviet Union and her allies. In the last days of July, Leonid Brezhnev and a Soviet delegation met Alexander Dubcek and their Czechoslovakian counterparts, to inquire about their strategy. They saw that the Czechoslovakians were divided between supporters of the reforms and opponents and, while they did get concessions such as pledges of loyalty to the Warsaw Pact by the reformists and promises to prevent the rise of political foes by getting greater control over the media, the Soviets were not satisfied with the guarantees. The plans for a swifter solution were drawn up.

On the night of August 20, Warsaw Pact forces invaded Czechoslovakia, with Soviet, Bulgarian, Polish and Hungarian soldiers in the ranks, a grand total of 200 thousand men and 2000 tanks, occupying the country overnight with less than one hundred enemy deaths; Dubcek called for non-resistance, but there were many villages who opposed the invading armies. The policy of having Soviet armies take over countries seemed to be shifting towards capitalism would henceforth be known as ‘the Brezhnev Doctrine’. The Prague Spring was over.

Throughout the world there was uproar against the Soviets for their intervention; Romania and Albania, themselves in the Warsaw Pact, protested the action, with the latter even leaving the coalition in protest. Western Communist leaders protested the move and so did China, whose leader, Chairman Mao Zedong, saw in the Brezhnev Doctrine a Soviet casus belli upon China on the making.

In the end, the single greatest impact of the events of the Prague Spring of 1968, much like its Parisian contemporary revolt, was not the changes that came from it – they would be reversed by the new, Soviet-approved regime – but by the shaking they would give to the ideals of the world who now saw the Soviet Union as yet another imperialistic power, rather than the liberator many had hoped. The thinking basis of the Western Left would be severely altered ever since.
Chapter 6: the California Primary
6. 7he California Primary

In America, the year of 1968 kept going and, as the elections approached, the two major parties began their primary campaigns, testing the waters among themselves to choose which individual would be the face of the party on their bid for power in November.

The President had won the front-running New Hampshire primary, even if by a slight margin alone, before abandoning the race. His main foe at the time was Senator Eugene McCarthy, in a campaign based on ending American involvement in the Vietnam War. He won in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, winning all primary races through March, as the war turned unpopular after the Tet campaign, and was beginning to rise as a likely winner of the popular vote. Johnson, rather than face the embarassment of defeat (or at least not as grand a victory as would be expected of a sitting President in his own party's primaries) decided to gracefully withdraw from the presidential bid, stating he did not plan to run for re-election, leaving the field momentarily open for McCarthy to rise and shine.

But the tide began to change by mid-March when Senator Robert F. Kennedy, brother of JFK, announced his own candidacy. This spelled the beginning of the end for the McCarthy campaign, even if he continued to win over Kennedy as the latter’s campaign assembled; many of his supporters were Kennedy fans backing the more similar candidate against Johnson, who now abandoned him for their favourite son, leaving with a plea for McCarthy to abandon the race and endorse Kennedy. This he vehemently refused to do and, instead, turned his campaign full-on against Kennedy, who he saw as cowardly for letting him sacrifice goodwill points against Johnson and only entering the campaign after the President had been bled by his own efforts.

At the same time, a third candidate presented himself – Hubert Humphrey, the Vice-President, whose championship of labour and civil rights earned him some points with the people, while his position of influence gained him the endorsement of the big-heads of the Party, from the President himself to the Congressmembers, the Mayors and the labour leaders, giving him hopes of winning the delegates at the Convention over both Kennedy and McCarthy, even though he was too late to take part in the primaries. In him rested the hopes of the New Deal Coalition, the winning machine that had made the Democratic Party such a power since FDR.

As a prominent and upcoming Democrat, Governor Feynman was flirted by the media as an attractive prospect for the nomination, bringing some new blood to the Party while giving it the popularity the Governor held with the African American, Chicano, academic and youth communities. Feynman, however, clearly denied any desire to serve as President, putting his mission in the State of California as paramount and adding that he had no interest whatsoever in going to Washington.

In May, Kennedy won the DC, Indiana and Nebraska primaries over McCarthy, but lost the Oregon race, leaving McCarthy with one further State than himself as they headed to California where, on June 4, there would be the Democratic primaries, concurrently with New Jersey and South Dakota. As the largest shareholder of the Electoral College, however, California was the prize for the candidates, who struggled to achieve supremacy there.

In a debate held in the first day of June and aired by ABC, McCarthy would fall short of Kennedy, who stood against his statements regarding being willing to put forward a coalition government in Saigon, including the Communists, but also of the need to move away African American communities from the inner cities to solve the urban problem, the latter which Kennedy accused of being a plan to ship ghetto residents to white, conservative counties.

As the question raged between the two, Governor Feynman was enquired on where he stood; the leader of the California Democrats, and a shining star in the Party at the national level, even if an unwelcomed one by some, his input and maybe even endorsement was considered noteworthy by many. The Governor was somewhat at a crossfire – a great admirer of Humbert Humphrey, whose letter had sent him on the path to Governorship, he was nonetheless aware that, ideologically, he stood closer to Kennedy than any other candidate, sharing his concern for civil rights and his disenchantment with the war in Vietnam. Rather than announce his position, Feynman declined to endorse any candidate and remain cordial with all of them, meeting with both Senators Eugene McCarthy and with Robert F Kennedy after their debate in the State.

In California, Robert Kennedy won the primary over his opponent, a cause of much celebration for him and his campaign. He was stationed at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles; in whose ballroom he addressed his supporters shortly after midnight, ending his speech with a promise to head to Chicago and there win the Illinois primary as well. There, he was also greeted by Governor Feynman whom, having heard of his victory, decided to congratulate the Senator, as a show of good faith and comradery in what was becoming a very heated and poisonous primary season. For Feynman, there was no need for bad blood. It was a fair contest and who won, won.

Feynman stayed in the ballroom, speaking with some of the Californian party leadership, whom approached him with the intention of convincing him to endorse Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention, a support which would make great waves for Kennedy and Feynman alike, they claimed, believing that might entice the stubborn man. They were also monitoring him for interest in a Cabinet position, to secure his commitment to their cause. Even the Vice-Presidency could be an option if merited. Meanwhile, the candidate himself was being headed through the kitchen, in a shortcut to the media room that had been prepared for him to give his victory speech.

Moments later, chaos would enter the room, as three gunshots were heard. They feared the worst, and the worst materialised itself, as the room was informed that the Senator had been shot three times. Feynman rushed to the room, where he saw the Kennedy laying, mortally wounded, with a rosary in his hands and a busboy cradling his head, losing blood and being barely conscious.

Minutes later, the medical attendants would transport the Senator to a nearby hospital, where he would die 26 hours later and after extensive and heroic efforts at repairing the damage to his brain caused by the bullets and by the bone fragments; his last words had been ‘don’t lift me’, before losing consciousness on his way to the hospital.

During that day, the nation went into shock as, only five years after having lost his brother and President, John F Kennedy himself, to assassination, the promising Senator too had perished. Investigations quickly concluded the shooter was a young Palestinian national who detested the Senator for his support of Israel and who had chosen the date in remembrance of the start of the Six-Day War.

It was Governor Feynman who first announced the loss of Senator Kennedy, in an address to the nation and to the family and friends of the Senator. A Jew himself, he was in a rather awkward position – he had always been a proponent of assimilation and never a Zionist – he had never even been to Israel, and had no plans of doing such a trip – but he was keenly aware he was still seen as a Jew and that it had been the conflict between Israel and Palestine that had cause the hatred to pour into the assassin’s heart. Eternally hopeful of distancing himself from that particular question, as he had always been, even in the scientific world, when they tried to make waves of his Jewish origins, Feynman was careful not to dwell to deeply into the matter.

“I have come to announce very terrible news – as you may have known, Senator Robert Kennedy has been undergoing surgery after having been a victim to an attempt on his life yesterday. I am sorry to inform you that, as of 1:44 AM of today, June 6, 1968, Senator Kennedy has succumbed to his wounds and has died at 42 years of age. He was with his three children, his wife Ethel, his sister, his brother-in-law Mr. Stephen Smith and his sister-in-law Mrs. John F. Kennedy.

Senator Kennedy… had just received news of his victory in the Californian primary when he was attacked, and was preparing to go to Illinois to continue his campaign there. He lived a life of service to the public… and died serving in that capacity of public servant, as his brother did before him. Whether or not we agreed with his views… It is important that we, as a nation, recognise the works and sacrifices of those men, who always worked towards creating a better America. I hope we can all respect the great man who has been lost to us today.

It is also my hope that the message of Senator Kennedy, a message of hope, of equality and of peace, does not die with him. Having met the Senator during his campaign, and having followed him before during his life of public service, I know he would have liked to be remembered as a good man, who did his best and tried to right the wrongs he saw in the world. To the family who loved him, I offer my best wishes and hope you can find solace in knowing many share in your grief and will continue fighting to ensure Senator Kennedy’s legacy is not forgotten.

Today is not a day for great speeches or celebrations. Today is a day for mourning and remembering the great man Robert Francis Kennedy was and continues to be, in our memory. I hope that, even now that he cannot continue fighting, others, friends and foes alike, remember his message and its impact with the American people. I believe he would see this as his greatest honour.

Thank you”

There was great mourning through the land as all, allies or enemies, respected and admired the man who had perished at the Los Angeles hotel that night. Not only Kennedy had died that night, but much of the optimism that had characterised American society in the last decade suffered a great blow. In turbulent times, the hope for the future, which had secured all matters, was weakened.

1968 was truly turning into a tragic year.
So, delayed again, but I decided to, since it is my birthday, to give you a small gift and add a second chapter to today's update, and a rather interesting one, in my opinion. Although things continue mostly like OTL, I find this event and the death of Kennedy will have influence later on, even if I am not sure how. I imagine Feynman will be influenced by it, considering how close to him it happened.

On Sunday (hopefully), we'll cover the DNC of '68, one of the most interesting (always in the Chinese sense) in History.
Well, America will be even more Pro-Israel now, along with much of the West. Will this impact immigration from the Middle East?
Well, America will be even more Pro-Israel now, along with much of the West. Will this impact immigration from the Middle East?

Note: this is all OTL except for Feynman being there. Kennedy still got killed for the same motive, so that shouldn't change things much.

Feynman's opinions, however, are another matter: he is a Jew, but he's an assimilationist at least mildly anti-Zionist, and who won't be personally supportive of Israel. Whether or not he can do something about that remains to be seen. By this time, the relationship between the two countries was becoming quite solid, after the Six Days War
Wow, didn't know another Kennedy was assassinated!

The Kennedy family has a very tragic story. Not just assassinations, but deaths and arguably worse things.

Here's a photo of the incident. I thought of having Feynman be the one cradling his head, but eventually didn't go with it because I enjoyed the story of the busboy Juan Romero, who tried to keep the Senator calm throughout the ordeal, telling him everything would be OK, and placing a rosary in his hand, a bit of Catholic solidarity that, regardless of how friendly, Feynman wouldn't have been able to provide.

Chapter 7: the Democratic National Convention of 1968
7. the Democratic National Convention of 1968

The death of Senator Robert F Kennedy, one of the most popular contenders to the Democratic nomination for President, and who had usurped Senator Eugene McCarthy as head of the anti-war movement within the Party, brought the Democratic Party to disarray, as many who had supported Kennedy were now forced to ally with another candidate.

Remembering the bitter battles and insults thrown at them by McCarthy during the later stages of the campaign, many of the Kennedy allies, even though they were against the war, allied with Humphrey by pure spite against the Senator, who had insulted their own intelligence during the primaries, in some rather unthoughtful comments. This made Humphrey, who already had the support of the powerful party establishment, the uncontested winner to be.

A few weeks after the death of Senator Kennedy, pressured by his peers and by the media, Governor Feynman would endorse Vice-President Humphrey’s bid, and would turn to be one of his most adamant supporters, even though he never hid that there were disagreements in policy between the Vice President and himself. Nevertheless, his sheer admiration for the work he had done in matters of civil rights outranked those concerns, especially against Senator McCarthy, whose comments during the primary debates had turned the Californian African Americans and Governor Feynman against him.

The Convention was held in Chicago, Illinois, 26 to 29 of August, by influence of the Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, a prominent establishment Democrat who looked with concern at the voting tendencies of his State and reasoned that, without the Convention being held in the State, it might be lost during the election. From there, he would have great control over went on within the walls of the Convention and, perhaps as importantly, beyond its walls.

Riled up with the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, and increasingly turning more against the war, the city of Chicago was home to many protestors of the war, while youth leaders had made manoeuvres to mount a youth festival in Chicago coinciding with the Democratic National Convention, threatening to make their presence known and fighting against the pro-war nomination.

And although Mayor Daley forbade any legal protesting requests, 10,000 protesters gathered in Chicago in late August. They were, however, outnumbered more than two to one by the 23,000 policemen ready to take down their protests and keep the situation from embarrassing the Mayor who had commanded them to be there.

On August 28, the protestors gathered for their demonstration; the police response was so violent and the use of tear gas so abundant the substance made its way to the Hilton Hotel, where it disturbed Humphrey in his shower. The most famous image of the demonstrations would happen in front of that same hotel, as images of the police attacking protestors with mace and tear gas made their way across the world, with the chant of “the whole world is watching”. Indeed, many criticised the violence of the police against the young protestors, even among the Convention.

The Jewish-American Senator from Connecticut Abraham Ribicoff, during a speech that day for George McGovern, a fellow Senator whom had become one of the heirs to Robert Kennedy during the weeks after his death and whom many hoped could bring back the anti-war movement to power, said, going off-script from his speech: “And with George McGovern as President of the United States we wouldn't have to have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago! With George McGovern we wouldn't have a National Guard. You bet. You bet.”

This was a direct attack to Mayor Daley, and one that he took very to heart, shouting, together with other supporters of Hubert Humphrey, at the Senator, what his supporters would claim was just ‘faker’, but which multiple television lip-readers claimed went more along the lines of “Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch, you lousy motherfucker go home”. The Senator, with his voice shaking, then proceeded to file a failed motion to change the city hosting the Convention.

Regardless of the primary victory of Eugene McCarthy, regardless of the efforts of the McGovern supporters, and regardless of the protestors tortured by means of tear gas outside, the Convention was somewhat anticlimactic, with Humphrey winning over his opponents in the first ballot, with more than two-thirds of the votes.

With their Presidential candidate therefore decided, it came to the table the choice of the running mate to Humphrey. With such a contested primary season, even if the convention itself had turned out to be less than climatic, a need was felt to bring the Party together; the choice of the running mate was a traditional tool towards this, meant to indicate the second-in-command and closest ally to the presidential candidate, even if this was less than truthful in reality.

The first choice of Humphrey was Senator Edward Kennedy, or Ted Kennedy, as he was better known, the last surviving of the Kennedys. Not wanting to live under the shadows of his brothers, however, he declined, as he had an invite for a draft by Mayor Daley before the Convention.

The other choices at hand were the Senators Edmund Muskie from Maine, an environmentalist but otherwise moderate, and Fred Harris from Oklahoma, a young and active statesman who dabbled in civil rights extensively, and then the Governors Richard Hughes of New Jersey, greatly popular with the labour unions, Terry Stanford of North Carolina, a known progressive leader, and Richard Feynman of California.

It is said that, of those, the first one with which Humphrey flirted towards being his running mate was Feynman, whose record with the young, the anti-war movement and with civil rights he appreciated as capable of showing the idea of a party united in his support, even if that was far from the truth. Even if that was the case, however, the flirtations failed, as Feynman continued to refuse approaches towards taking him from California and dragging him to Washington DC. In the end, Humphrey reduced his choices between Muskie and Harris and, in the end, saw the age of the latter as too much of a problem and took on Muskie as his running mate.

The unruly Convention followed his request, and Muskie won the nomination in the first ballot, with minimal and quite symbolic opposition from other candidates besides a protest blank vote.

On June 29, the Convention closed, with Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie standing as the uneasy chosen team for the presidential bid later in the year. The lack of party unity, together with the indignity of the violence against the protestors in Chicago and the disapproval of the public towards the Vietnam War, worked to weaken the Humphrey campaign from the start, however, and many feared the Democratic Party was too wounded to actually accomplish victory in November.
Chapter 8: a Valley of Silicon
8. a Valley of Silicon

Feynman had worked with computers during World War II, at Los Alamos, leading the group that used a machine from IBM to make calculations regarding implosions for the Manhattan Project. He had been fascinated by the machines, and had described his interactions with them in the following manner, when recollecting his war experiences years later, in a calmer setting:

The trouble with computers is you play with them. They are so wonderful. You have these switches--if it's an even number you do this, if it's an odd number you do that--and pretty soon you can do more and more elaborate things if you are clever enough, on one machine.... If you've ever worked with computers you understand the disease-the delight in being able to see how much you can do

A description that would become a celebrated way of computer enthusiasts of describing their passion to their fellow men, as their hobby went from a small curiosity of the modern age to the dominating industry it became. And, of course, Feynman would have a role to play in that development. As he reached the Governorship in California, events were unfolding that were working towards making California a great hub of the computer industry, events that would begin before Feynman arrived at Sacramento and would continue to develop long after he was gone.

It had begun at the twilight of the war, as the universities began to face pressure as their students returned, turned into veterans of a terrible war, seeking space to learn and space to practice their craft, seeking employment opportunities for graduate students who so far had only known work for the military in Europe and the Pacific. In Stanford, Frederick Terman, the Dean of Engineering, promoted the leasing of Stanford lands for the building of an industrial research park, as part of his campaign to encourage faculty and graduates to start their own enterprises, with the support of the university system, to whom their propserity was their own. As a result of his nurturing and endorsement, many high-tech firms began sprouting around the Stanford campus, in Palo Alto, among them the Hewlett-Packard Company.

In 1956, William Shockley, inventor of the transistor and receiver of the Nobel Prize that year for that contribution to science, moved from his New Jersey home to Mountain View, California, to live closer to his ailing mother, and where, in a delightful coincidence, met the thriving industrial research environment, deciding then to form the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory to continue his work and research in the matter. Having worked at Bell Labs and having fallen out with the management, due to his abrasiveness perhaps, he believed the new venture could give him the full credit he deserved for his inventions, something he clung greatly unto ever since the perceived betrayal by Bell Labs on the transistor patent.

The Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory developed the Shockley diode, which the creator and eponym believed would be the prototype of all future computing; the difficulties of producing them, however, refuted that claim and the models were a commercial failure, but Shockley nonetheless refused to budge and continued to focus his efforts on solving the problem with his invention, disregarding the commercial interests of his sponsors. He had done too much too fail, in his mind.

Through the first year, the failure of Shockley was proving emotionally disturbing; his paranoia began to take over, as he distrusted everyone, including his team; results weren’t shared within the Laboratory and all reports were double-checked by the Bell Labs staff to whom Shockley sent them. All phone calls were recorded and he attempted to put the entire staff through a lie detector test. Soon enough, the team started to lose members, who could no longer handle the madness within.

After an ultimatum to the chief investor to replace Shockley, the eight youngest researchers quit the team together, bonding to form a new company of their own. To those, Shockley would call ‘the traitorous eight’ and said they would never succeed.

He was proven wrong as the Traitorous Eight would find an investor in Sherman Fairchild, and begin the Fairchild Semiconductor company. Until 1961, they would work together, through various challenges, and developing planar technology, one of the most important developments in the industry. Even after four of them left the company, after disagreements with management, which was becoming ever more oppressive, Fairchild Semiconductor continued to be, until 1965, the leader of the market, based in Palo Alto, for semiconductor technology.

Beginning in 1965, conflicts with shareholders began to drain manpower, as many researchers moved to new companies sprouting around Palo Alto, with the company losing its leadership position to Texas Instruments in July 1967.

In March 1968, two of the remaining Traitorous Eight, and the leaders of the movement at the time, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, left Fairchild Semiconductor and, on July 18, founded the company that would later become Intel. The many movements, discoveries, clashes and friendships that had moved the industry through the last decade would continue throughout it, to make the Californian computer industry, based around Palo Alto, to grow to the largest nationally and worldwide.

As computer potency grew, ideas began to form in ambitious minds and, after meetings and discussions around Palo Alto, a new concept was emerging – of a network of computers operating and communicating throughout the country and perhaps the world. By 1967, the technical designs had begun, sponsored by the Pentagon, and by mid-1968 the complete plans were designed and approved. California would be a beating heart of the network, comparable only to the full breadth of the Eastern Coast, which it was starting to outrank in technological prowess.

This growing market would find a trustworthy ally in Professor-turned-Governor Feynman, who would follow their development closely, and would help find sponsorships for young researchers with great ideas that he understood could change the world. He would often tour their humble headquarters in Palo Alto, calling media attention and therefore investor money to them, while making efforts to have the State of California invest in the growing industry, both by favourable legislation and by commissions that helped modernise the State’s infrastructures.

There was good reason that Frederick Terman, William Shockley and Richard Feynman, three Californian professors, would be later called the Founding Fathers of Silicon Valley, to whom many streets and monuments in the area are still dedicated.
More good stuff. I love seeing updates of this one. It looks like high tech and non-Reagan times are coming.
I'm glad everyone is enjoying the TL so far

So how would this impact the development and growth of Silicon Valley?

Actually... Not really. Certainly a few details would change, but nothing too major, since OTL could already be described as a sort of a Silicon Valley wank. What will happen, however, is that Feynman will be credited for it when, frankly, he really didn't have that much influence.

Man RFK dying still sucks. Has anyone made an RFK 68 timeline because for the life of me, I can't find one on this site.

Yeah I considered having RFK surviving, but that simply derailed things too much for what I was intending in the TL.