Sobel's "For Want of a Nail": lives of those we know as US presidents?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by 1940LaSalle, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. 1940LaSalle Member

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    Note to moderators: I put this here because it's speculation based on existing AH fiction, and I couldn't figure out where this might otherwise go. If this is in the wrong place, please (a) move accordingly and (b) advise where it went. Thanks.

    Anyhow...presuming that the events in the late 18th century played out as Sobel would have them, what of those we know as US presidents IOTL? While I don't have the book at hand, I recall that George Washington was allowed to retire to Mt. Vernon in what one might term Nixonesque semi-disgrace, while John Adams and (I think) Thomas Jefferson were among those executed for treason. That accounts for the first three.

    I'll throw out a few suggestions and invite others to contribute:
    • Ulysses Grant parlayed his knowledge of horses and equine husbandry to become one of the premier dealers in those animals in the middle decades of the 19th century. Moving to northern Indiana, he entered a partnership with the Studebaker brothers. A Studebaker vehicle pulled by one or more Grant horses was a byword for excellent, reliable working transportation. In the last years of his life, Grant saw the potential of the engines pioneered by Benz and others, urging the Studebakers to invest in internal combustion engine development, and outfitting their vehicles with those engines. The Studebaker-Grant truck, first available as an experimental vehicle in the mid-1890s, proved wildly popular and successful, leading to the emergence of Studebaker-Grant as North America's premier truck and commercial vehicle manufacturer.
    • The Reverend Woodrow Wilson, Ph. D. emerged from Presbyterian church pulpits in Virginia and the Carolinas to become one of the foremost Calvinist theologians in the world by the early 20th century. Wilson's Salvation, Sanctification and Sense has become the foundation for mainstream latter-day apologetics in the Presbyterian church. Beginning in 1911, he was the chair of the department of apologetics at Princeton Theological Seminary, a position he held until his death in 1931. Dietrich Bonhoffer commented that he would not have had the necessary inspiration for his writings had it not been for Wilson.
    • While there is nothing to really rival Kramer Associates for its worldwide influence on industry and technology, its sometimes rival Hoover Industries Ltd. may well be the closest analog outside of the United States of Mexico. Founder Herbert Hoover developed his mining engineering firm with vertical integration, leading to smelters, steelmaking, and heavy equipment manufacture. It's difficult to imagine the landscape of the Confederation of North America without Hoover projects (e.g., the Sir John Dickinson bridge spanning the Delaware River between Delaware and New Jersey; the Central Railroad of New Jersey tunnel under the Hudson linking New York City and the rest of the Middle Atlantic provinces), or other projects without Hoover-built earth-moving equipment.

    Take it from there.
     
  2. HammerofWar Writer

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    Washington was given life in prison.
     
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  3. Odinson Talk Nerdy To Me

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    I haven't found a copy of the book, though I do want to read it.
     
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  4. lordroel Well-Known Member

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    If you can read it, its a great book
     
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  5. merlin Well-Known Member

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    I have - incredibly detailed, which is good in one way, but does make it bit heavy going try to read it. Though fascinating the integration of Native Americans.
     
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  6. UCB79 Bookworm, 1st class

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    It is the AU to end all AU’s!

    I noted Lincoln got a one-sentence mention as a noted lawyer. Perhaps he is later eleva-
    ted to the Supreme Court of the Confeder-
    ation of North America(though he does not
    serve with any great distinction on that body).
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 8:23 PM
  7. CapitalistHippie Peace, love, and free markets.

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    I feel like Teddy Roosevelt, assuming his family wasn't already in the United States of Mexico, would seek to move there given his imperialist and adventurous tendencies. He might've ended up dying in obscurity in one of the wars of expansion.
     
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  8. UCB79 Bookworm, 1st class

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    Or joining up with either Ambrose Bierce or
    Mark Twain?
     
  9. PNWKing There's Still Hope Out There!

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    Donald Trump: A low level manager at Kramer Associates
    Barack Obama II: President of Kenya
    G.W. Bush: Film actor
     
  10. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    Kenya is called Victoria, at least in For All Nails.
     
  11. 1940LaSalle Member

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    In the book, Martin van Buren is mentioned as the Governor General of the Confederation of North America. Abraham Lincoln merits a very brief single mention as a railroad lawyer. And of course Andrew Jackson is the first president of the United States of Mexico. But (someone correct me if necessary, please) I believe the single mention of Lincoln was the last time any actual US president was mentioned.

    Anyhow, a few more:

    John Tyler was an unabashed, outspoken proponent of chattel slavery, and an obdurate opponent of manumission. When the British Empire outlawed slavery, Tyler (then a member of the Southern Confederation parliament) railed against it in a filibuster-like speech, continuing until he collapsed of exhaustion. Within 24 hours thereafter, Tyler made a statement on the floor that he was disgusted and outraged by "this abominable nullification of the natural order of things", resigned his seat, and announced he was decamping for the USM--and anyone who felt similarly was welcome to join him. Tyler left Norfolk by ship within the month, landing at Corpus Christi, Jefferson shortly thereafter. He acquired land near San Antonio, and became a major rancher / plantation owner. He also became a significant power behind the throne, not entering politics directly, but wielding considerable influence in the government of Jefferson in particular and the USM in general. His descendants (recall he had eleven children!) are very much active in local and higher levels of politics in both Jefferson and the USM today.

    Few academics in the liberal arts are as revered, especially more than a century after passing, as is professor James Garfield, Ph. D. of Indiana University. Garfield taught both Latin and Greek as a full professor, and also served as an adjunct professor in the mathematics department. His teaching methods, which sought to make classic languages relevant to the times in which he taught, were widely successful (indeed, as a seminary student, the Reverend Woodrow Wilson took both Latin and Greek from Garfield, and often mentioned Garfield as a mentor).

    The Royal Navy has played a decreasing role in the defense of the CNA since the late 19th / early 20th centuries for a good reason: the development of the Royal American Navy. And that in turn is due to the efforts of two men who rose to the rank of admiral: Alfred Mahan and Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt came from a well-established Dutch family that had lived in New York since the 17th century, and the lure of sailing and the sea came naturally to him. Roosevelt got his bachelor's degree at Harvard in 1879 and then went on to the CNA Naval Academy at Cape May, NJ. Upon graduation, he was commissioned an ensign, and quickly established himself as the kind of junior officer whom the enlisted ranks would respect and like--and who got things done. Roosevelt rose rapidly, attaining the rank of commander by age 40. His white paper arguing in favor of a greater CNA navy, freeing the Royal Navy for other duties and at the same time ensuring that the Gulf of Mexico remained free and open, was noted widely. He was appointed to study at the Naval War College in Annapolis and promoted quickly to commodore. His commands were known less for spit-and-polish order and more for technical excellence, discipline, and extreme proficiency in gunnery. Roosevelt attained the rank of admiral by the time he reached age 55, which rank he held until he retired in 1923. His books on the history of naval power in the 19th century are still considered definitive.
     
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  12. wolfhound817 Priest of Hank

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    What is For All Nails