Alternate Outcomes: Ahistorical US Presidents

Have you ever thought about the historical implications if the outcome of every presidential elections in the United States were changed and winners were determined the other way around?


Have you ever thought about the historical implications if the outcome of every presidential election in the United States were changed and winners were determined the other way around? What would happen if both John and Robert Kennedy were not killed by assassins' bullets? How would the Vietnam War ended if Richard Nixon did not resign? What would the alternate-versions of historical presidents have done in slightly altered historical circumstances? These questions are just what-ifs in history waiting to be answered.

Here are some of the plausible scenarios:

1. Benjamin Franklin is elected as the first President of the United States against his sole opponent George Washington in 1789 with John Adams becoming his Vice President. During his presidency, Franklin creates a more democratic society.

2. Aaron Burr is elected the third president in 1800 against Thomas Jefferson, establishes an alliance with Napoleon Bonaparte, and creates a family dictatorship. Aaron Burr serves as president for nine terms until his death on September 14, 1836. His grandson and final vice president Aaron Burr Alston becomes the fourth President of the United States.

3. Andrew Jackson is elected president over John Quincy Adams in 1824 with John C. Calhoun becoming his vice president, four years earlier than in reality. As a result, biological and chemical engineering are developed earlier.

4. Andrew Jackson's image is tarnished by a land-dealing scandal, resulting in Davy Crockett being elected president over him in 1828. This results in the Civil War occurring over the Compromise of 1850 and the Confederacy winning its independence in 1853.

5. David Rice Atchison becomes the 13th President in 1849 after Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore are killed in a carriage accident shortly into their terms as president and vice president. This results in the Northern states seceding from the country and forming the "New England Confederacy" with Daniel Webster as its president and John Brown as the Commander of Army. The war ends two years later in 1855 with the northern states being readmitted into the Union shortly afterward. In 1861, President Stephen A. Douglas introduces the Civil Rights Act of 1861, which abolishes slavery throughout the entire United States.

6. Former President Millard Fillmore on the Know-Nothing Party is elected the 15th President in 1856 after James Buchanan suffers a stroke in October. This results in ethnic tensions in New England over the fugitive slave laws. John C. Frémont becomes President of the New England Confederacy with William Tecumseh Sherman as his commanding general, opposed by the Army of the United States under Robert E. Lee.

7. Abraham Lincoln is defeated by Stephen A. Douglas in 1860, who becomes the 16th President. In the hope of avoiding warfare, President Douglas attempted to reach a compromise with the Southern representatives in Congress. The Manumission Act of 1862 was intended to preserve the Union by freeing the slaves over a period of ten years, giving everyone time to adjust. While Douglas heralded the law as another great compromise analogous to the Compromise of 1850, the Southern representatives formed the Confederate States of America and began arming for war. After the outbreak of the American Civil War later on that year, Douglas was fearful of further provoking the South and did not introduce conscription as the Confederacy had done. Consequently, the professional though much smaller Union Army was overwhelmed and nearly destroyed by the Confederate States Army at Manassas Creek in Virginia in 1862.

It took the United States over a year to recover from this disaster, creating a period of false peace. Although everyone in the North initially welcomed it, the false peace gave both sides time to build their armies as well as providing an opportunity for the United Kingdom to decide to support the Confederacy with the full backing of the British Empire's diplomacy and trade. Douglas continued to negotiate with the Confederacy in an attempt to reach a compromise, failing to understand that every day lost meant another victory for the South. Lincoln accepted a commission as the commanding general of the Illinois Militia in the Union Army. His own commanding officer was Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant. General Lincoln believed that he would have been able to prevent the war if he had been elected or, failing that, would have shown the kind of decisive leadership of which Douglas was seemingly incapable, built a real army, and crushed the Confederacy before they were able to build a large army of their own. Shortly after leading his troops into battle for the first time in 1863, Lincoln was shot and killed by a Confederate sniper while still on horseback.

8. A constitutional amendment allows Presidents of the United States to run for only one term, which forces Ulysses S. Grant out of the race. Victoria Woodhull of the Equal Rights Party is elected the 19th President in 1872 and becomes the first woman to hold that office. Her Vice President, Frederick Douglass, becomes the first African American to hold that office. The story is a series of letters from Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom to the new President.

9. Leila Morse agrees to marry Samuel J. Tilden, giving him the impetus to secure his 1876 electoral college victory over Rutherford B. Hayes. Tilden is reelected in 1880 and eventually founds the Liberal Party. His vice president Winfield Scott Hancock goes on and gets elected the 20th president in 1884 and reelected in 1888 with Grover Cleveland as his vice president.

10. Still bruised by his defeat in the 1876 presidential election, Samuel Tilden uses underhanded tactics to win the 1880 presidential election against James Garfield. However, Garfield gets help from Charles J. Guiteau (his assassin in real history) and they assassinate Tilden before he is able to take office.

11. Belva Ann Lockwood of the National Equal Rights Party is elected in 1888 over Democratic incumbent Grover Cleveland and Republican candidate Benjamin Harrison. Lockwood becomes the first woman to hold the office of the presidency. Her presidency results in expanded democratic rights, including women's suffrage. She serves as president until she is defeated in the 1892 election by Grover Cleveland.

12. William Jennings Bryan is elected in 1896 over William McKinley. He serves one term, during which Hawaii and the former Spanish colonies become independent nations, then flatly refuses to run for a second term. Theodore Roosevelt never becomes president, female suffrage is passed in 1913, and the elderly Bryan opposes entry into World War I following the sinking of the Lusitania.

13. Former president Theodore Roosevelt on the Bull Moose Party wins the 1912 election over William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson as his health is good since John Schrank's bullet missed him. As president, he secures women's suffrage and wins the war against Germany within a year.

14. James M. Cox is elected in 1920 after Republican candidate Warren G. Harding dies from a stroke. However, five weeks after the election, he is assassinated by an anti-League of Nations activist, leaving his elected Vice President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to become the twenty-ninth President. Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany earlier than in real life and the two of them establish an alliance to maintain the balance of power.

15. Robert M. La Follette, Sr. is elected President in 1924 over Calvin Coolidge. However, he dies the next year on June 18, 1925 (the same date as he did in real life) and is succeeded by his vice president Burton K. Wheeler.

16. Al Smith runs as a third-party candidate in the 1932 election. Due to the split in the Democratic Party, Herbert Hoover is reelected against both him and Franklin D. Roosevelt. As a result, the Munich Agreement prevents World War II. Due to the continuing presence of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, totalitarianism and anti-Semitism grow stronger across the world well into the 1950s.

17. Huey Long escapes assassination in 1935 and runs for President in 1936 as in Independent. He steals away Franklin Roosevelt's Vice President John Nance Garner. Long defeats both Roosevelt and Republican candidate Alf Landon. World War II is averted when Long invites Hitler to Washington and then assassinates him via a bomb in 1938, however, this does lead to a war between the US and Germany.

18. Thomas E. Dewey is elected President in 1944 and is pressured to end World War II by dropping the atomic bomb on Tokyo. Dewey wins the 1948 election against Harry S. Truman by playing to anti-communist fears.

19. Adlai Stevenson is elected in 1952 because Dwight D. Eisenhower chooses Joseph McCarthy as his running mate instead of Richard Nixon. Stevenson is re-elected in 1956 but impeached and forced to resign in 1958. His vice president, John F. Kennedy, becomes the thirty-fifth president.

20. A feud between John F. Kennedy and Richard J. Daley leads to Richard Nixon being elected President in 1960.

21. Barry Goldwater wins the election in 1964 over Lyndon B. Johnson and uses nuclear weapons on North Vietnam to win the Vietnam War. Goldwater is re-elected president in 1968 and serves until 1973. Meanwhile, Richard Nixon had retired from politics in the late 1960s and been running a popular late-night talk show called "Tricky Dick" on NBC as the host for over 20 years.

22. Lyndon B. Johnson decides to run for a second full term in the 1968 presidential election. This leads to widespread protests in the United States and a bomb being planted at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which explodes. The explosion kills Johnson, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Senator George McGovern, and Senator Eugene McCarthy. While official policy states that Robert F. Kennedy was also killed in the explosion, he was actually killed by a Chicago policeman. The chaos at the Convention leads to an actual revolution and Ronald Reagan is elected president and turns the United States into an autocratic state.

23. George McGovern is elected in 1972 and attempts a tricky immediate withdrawal from the Vietnam War. In another scenario, McGovern is elected after G. Gordon Liddy is caught murdering Carl Bernstein to cover up the Watergate scandal.

24. Gerald Ford is reelected president in the 1976 presidential election over Jimmy Carter and threatens war with Iran over the Iran hostage crisis.

25. Walter Mondale is elected President in 1984 against Ronald Reagan. As a result, the Sandinista movement expands, causing a civil war in Mexico followed by a US invasion in 1989, and a swarm of Latin American refugees overruns the American Southwest.

26. Michael Dukakis is elected President in 1988 but is revealed to be an alien attempting to infiltrate Dulce Base. The Men in Black along with friendly aliens, therefore, rewrite history in order for George H. W. Bush to win the 1988 election instead.

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Istoryadista | History Blog | Cebu Blogger: Alternate Outcomes: Ahistorical US Presidents
Alternate Outcomes: Ahistorical US Presidents
Have you ever thought about the historical implications if the outcome of every presidential elections in the United States were changed and winners were determined the other way around?
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