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Tags abraham lincoln , alternate history , Civil War history

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Old 24th June 2015, 03:17 PM   #1
Bob001
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Suppose Booth had missed?

The renewed controversy over the Confederate flag reminds me once again that the South never really stopped fighting the Civil War. The Black Codes and Jim Crow laws, the lynchings, the "massive resistance" to civil rights, etc., were basically guerrilla war against America. Question: Suppose Lincoln had lived? Would reconstruction have lasted longer and accomplished more? Would he have been succeeded by someone who was committed to Lincoln's values? Would Confederate leaders have been called to account (ideally hanged for treason, to my mind)? Where would we be today if Lincoln hadn't been murdered by Southern terrorists?
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Old 24th June 2015, 07:39 PM   #2
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If Booth had missed it would have caused Oswald to miss too.
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Old 25th June 2015, 03:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
The renewed controversy over the Confederate flag reminds me once again that the South never really stopped fighting the Civil War. The Black Codes and Jim Crow laws, the lynchings, the "massive resistance" to civil rights, etc., were basically guerrilla war against America. Question: Suppose Lincoln had lived? Would reconstruction have lasted longer and accomplished more? Would he have been succeeded by someone who was committed to Lincoln's values? Would Confederate leaders have been called to account (ideally hanged for treason, to my mind)? Where would we be today if Lincoln hadn't been murdered by Southern terrorists?
No I'm assuming that:
1. Lincoln isn't seriously injured (Booth also had a knife). Perhaps Lincoln doesn't dismiss the soldier guarding the booth.
2. Mrs. Lincoln isn't seriously injured.
3. The assassination attempts on William Seward and Andrew Johnson were also unsuccessful.

Some speculations.
So Reconstruction. Well I'm not one of those who believes Lincoln would pander to the demands of the Radical Republicans but he'd support a plan that was stronger than that Andrew Johnson advocated. I suspect he'd also support full citizenship rights (including full voting equality) for black Americans. He'd likely support the 14th and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution.
However he'd also favour a quick reintegration of the southern states into the Union, and full citizenship for all former Confederates except perhaps for a few of the most prominent or those who tried to use violence and intimidation against former slaves.

Now getting off the ACW let's look at economics, a rather more important matter. Lincoln himself greatly distrusted Big Business and, given the rapid industrialisation of America in the decades after the ACW, perhaps Lincoln would have attempted to institute policies to alleviate the negative impact on the working classes. He did at times made statements almost akin to socialism.... (Something Herr Turteltaub got right).

Of course there's also the question of how well a surviving Lincoln would be able to work with Congress; he might well have won the war but lost the peace.
Would he have broken the two term tradition (I rather think he would). And who'd have succeeded him? Chamberlin perhaps? His successor would have had to deal with the 'second generation' of reaction from the former Confederates; remember most of the 'Jim Crow' laws were enacted in the late 1880s and 1890s.
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Old 25th June 2015, 08:25 AM   #4
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If he had missed from ~3 feet people would be comparing him to Imperial storm troopers.
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Old 26th June 2015, 07:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Question: Suppose Lincoln had lived? Would reconstruction have lasted longer and accomplished more?

I doubt that Lincoln could have extended Reconstruction. Apart from the fact that he would undoubtedly have been out of office for at least four (and probably eight) years by 1877, by that time large majorities of people in most northern states were simply tired of the entire process, and wanted to leave the South to its own devices.

As for accomplishments, it is likely that Lincoln would have done more to help the freedmen, considering how much more progressive his views on race were than Johnson's. What, if any, long-term effects this would have had is difficult to judge.

Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Would he have been succeeded by someone who was committed to Lincoln's values?

Apart from the Butterfly Effect, there is no reason to believe that Grant would not have become President in 1869 (or 1873), even had Lincoln lived.

Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Would Confederate leaders have been called to account (ideally hanged for treason, to my mind)?

What part of "With malice toward none, with charity for all" was unclear?

Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Where would we be today if Lincoln hadn't been murdered by Southern terrorists?

I would like to believe that poverty rates among black Americans would be somewhat lower, for the above-mentioned reason.
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Old 26th June 2015, 09:02 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
....
What part of "With malice toward none, with charity for all" was unclear?
....
It's not malice to punish criminals for their crimes, and treason -- specifically defined in the Constitution as "levying war against" the United States -- certainly qualifies. I do wonder whether the old South might have taken a different direction if the Confederate leaders had been hanged as traitors instead being allowed to cloak themselves in the mantel of heroism "against Northern aggression."

I also wonder whether Lincoln might have run for a third term. The two-term limit was only enacted after FDR; until then it was only a custom, which any president might have set aside. Lincoln could easily have said "Our unique circumstances demand my continued devotion..." and voters might have supported him.
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Old 26th June 2015, 09:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
No I'm assuming that:
1. Lincoln isn't seriously injured (Booth also had a knife). Perhaps Lincoln doesn't dismiss the soldier guarding the booth box.
FTFY.

John Frederick ParkerWP was actually a police officer, and by all accounts one of worst on the DC police force. However, even had Lincoln had several heavily armed, competent bodyguards, the chances that Booth, a famous actor, would have been refused entry would have been rather slight. In fact, Lincoln had previously requested to meet Booth after a particularly memorable performance (Booth declined).

After the Fact, by Fred Saberhagen, containes a plausible Lincoln survival scenario:

Major Rathbone notices Booth enter the box with a weapon, and springs at him, causing Booth to use his only shot on Rathbone. Booth then attacks Lincoln with the knife, but Lincoln, being thus alerted, is able to use his strength, size, and wrestling skill to disarm and disable Booth.


Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
2. Mrs. Lincoln isn't seriously injured.

It's unlikely that she would have been, for a variety of reasons.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
3. The assassination attempts on William Seward and Andrew Johnson were also unsuccessful.

Assuming Lincoln had survived his term, the consequences of Johnson's assassination would have been minimal, other than to increase the howling for revenge from many in the North.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Well I'm not one of those who believes Lincoln would pander to the demands of the Radical Republicans but he'd support a plan that was stronger than that Andrew Johnson advocated.

Actually, Lincoln favored a moderate reconstruction; see his Ten Percent PlanWP.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
I suspect he'd also support full citizenship rights (including full voting equality) for black Americans. He'd likely support the 14th and 15th Amendments to the US Constitution.

I imagine that he would have come around to these ideas eventually.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
However he'd also favour a quick reintegration of the southern states into the Union, and full citizenship for all former Confederates except perhaps for a few of the most prominent or those who tried to use violence and intimidation against former slaves.

He also exempted from his blanket pardon "all who have engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war" (IOW, war criminals).

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Now getting off the ACW let's look at economics, a rather more important matter. Lincoln himself greatly distrusted Big Business and, given the rapid industrialisation of America in the decades after the ACW, perhaps Lincoln would have attempted to institute policies to alleviate the negative impact on the working classes. He did at times made statements almost akin to socialism.... (Something Herr Turteltaub got right).

I think that Lincoln's socialist leanings have been overstated by some, including Turtledove.
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Of course there's also the question of how well a surviving Lincoln would be able to work with Congress; he might well have won the war but lost the peace.

I think he would have been able to work reasonably well with Congress; the Radicals were never an absolute majority.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Would he have broken the two term tradition (I rather think he would).

Can you elaborate on that? I've always assumed he wouldn't have.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
And who'd have succeeded him?

Again, there's no good reason to believe it wouldn't have been Grant.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Chamberlin perhaps?

Presumably you're referring to Joshua Lawrence ChamberlainWP. In 1868, Chamberlain's only political experience had been two years as governor of Maine, and, although a war hero, he wasn't a well-known national figure like Grant or Sherman.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
His successor would have had to deal with the 'second generation' of reaction from the former Confederates; remember most of the 'Jim Crow' laws were enacted in the late 1880s and 1890s.

Even if Lincoln and Grant had each served three terms, Grant would have left office in 1885 (shortly before his death, as usual ignoring the Butterfly Effect).
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Old 26th June 2015, 09:31 AM   #8
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To clarify my original post, I meant "suppose Booth had failed" for any reason, not just his shot going awry. If Lincoln had stayed home that night or decided to leave the theater earlier, if a co-conspirator had gotten cold feet and turned him in, if the Ford's box had been locked from the inside with guards outside, if a pre-occupied Booth had been run over in the street by a carriage, the outcome -- and the question -- would have been the same.
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Old 26th June 2015, 09:32 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
If Booth had missed it would have caused Oswald to miss too.
They both shot into a cluster of people the size of the number of bullets they fired! Booth shot one time and missed one person. Oswald shot four times and missed four people.
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Old 26th June 2015, 09:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
...
John Frederick ParkerWP was actually a police officer, and by all accounts one of worst on the DC police force.
...
I had no idea about this guy. But he apparently was not only cleared of charges but continued working as a White House guard:

Quote:
Parker was charged with neglect of duty and tried on May 3, 1865 but no transcripts of the case were kept. The complaint was dismissed on June 2, 1865. In spite of leaving his post the night Lincoln was shot, Parker was still assigned to work security at the White House. Before Mary Todd Lincoln moved out of the White House following her husband's death, Parker was assigned as her bodyguard. Mrs. Lincoln's dressmaker Elizabeth Keckley overheard Mrs. Lincoln yell to Parker, "So you are on guard tonight, on guard in the White House after helping to murder the President."[3]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Frederick_Parker
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Old 26th June 2015, 01:27 PM   #11
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There is a book, probably impossible to find now, called The Lost Years by Oscar Lewis. It's what might have happened if Lincoln had only been wounded, had served out his second term, and after.

You can find parts of it in A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Volume 2 edited by Anthony Boucher. I read this version a long time ago, and it drove me crazy, since although the dates in the story are right, Lincoln isn't explicitly named, and is only referred to as "the Shogun." It took me at least half-way to figure out that it really was supposed to be Lincoln.

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Old 26th June 2015, 09:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Nowhere Man View Post
There is a book, probably impossible to find now, called The Lost Years by Oscar Lewis.
....
The first place I check for old books is Bookfinder.com. It consolidates a number of book search sites.

And here it is:
http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac...al%2520fantasy
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Old 27th June 2015, 03:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
It's not malice to punish criminals for their crimes, and treason -- specifically defined in the Constitution as "levying war against" the United States -- certainly qualifies. I do wonder whether the old South might have taken a different direction if the Confederate leaders had been hanged as traitors instead being allowed to cloak themselves in the mantel of heroism "against Northern aggression."

I also wonder whether Lincoln might have run for a third term. The two-term limit was only enacted after FDR; until then it was only a custom, which any president might have set aside. Lincoln could easily have said "Our unique circumstances demand my continued devotion..." and voters might have supported him.
Lincoln was a pragmatist, he'd have accepted the limited benefits of punishing former Confederates wouldn't have helped the USA.

Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
FTFY.
John Frederick ParkerWP was actually a police officer, and by all accounts one of worst on the DC police force. However, even had Lincoln had several heavily armed, competent bodyguards, the chances that Booth, a famous actor, would have been refused entry would have been rather slight. In fact, Lincoln had previously requested to meet Booth after a particularly memorable performance (Booth declined).
Thanks for that, it'll go into my notes for a 'Saving Lincoln' RPG scenario.

Booth is an interesting character, in fact all the brother Booth were. I was fascinated by the role Edwin Booth played in saving living by quelling the panic in the Winter Garden during the Confederate arson of 25 November 1864.

Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Actually, Lincoln favored a moderate reconstruction; see his Ten Percent PlanWP.
Absolutely, I was referring to the tendency of some to suggest he'd have implemented a far more Radical plan.

Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
I imagine that he would have come around to these ideas eventually.
Probably.

Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
He also exempted from his blanket pardon "all who have engaged in any way in treating colored persons, or white persons in charge of such, otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war" (IOW, war criminals).
Which seems reasonable and would have effected only a small group

Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
I think that Lincoln's socialist leanings have been overstated by some, including Turtledove.
I disagree. Though given how the USA tends to misuse the term 'socialist' so it's an interesting point. However Lincoln did implement the first personal income tax, create a Federal money supply in the form of the 'greenbacks' and more. He also spoke out against unbridled capitalism ("These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people") and against the idea that labour was always the servant of capital ("Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration").

Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
think he would have been able to work reasonably well with Congress; the Radicals were never an absolute majority.
True. It's depend on how the subsequent elections went and that's always a chancy thing to predict.

Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Can you elaborate on that? I've always assumed he wouldn't have.
I did a lot of reading on Lincoln some years ago (I was considering him as a thesis option) and it's an impression I got; he seemed to me to have plans that would have caused him to go beyond the traditional two terms.

Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Presumably you're referring to Joshua Lawrence ChamberlainWP. In 1868, Chamberlain's only political experience had been two years as governor of Maine, and, although a war hero, he wasn't a well-known national figure like Grant or Sherman.
Though if groomed by Lincoln, and with several years as VP, he might have been more able to run and win. Lincoln himself wasn't that experienced in politics before standing for the presidency.

Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Even if Lincoln and Grant had each served three terms, Grant would have left office in 1885 (shortly before his death, as usual ignoring the Butterfly Effect).
Oopsie I meant successors.
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Old 28th June 2015, 05:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
It's not malice to punish criminals for their crimes, and treason -- specifically defined in the Constitution as "levying war against" the United States -- certainly qualifies.

Be that as it may, it certainly isn't charitable to inflict the ultimate penalty, especially when there was a widespread belief (including among some in the North) that secession was Constitutional.

Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
I do wonder whether the old South might have taken a different direction if the Confederate leaders had been hanged as traitors instead being allowed to cloak themselves in the mantel of heroism "against Northern aggression."

Surely you don't believe that killing the men would have killed the idea, do you?

Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
I also wonder whether Lincoln might have run for a third term. The two-term limit was only enacted after FDR; until then it was only a custom, which any president might have set aside. Lincoln could easily have said "Our unique circumstances demand my continued devotion..." and voters might have supported him.

I imagine that Lincoln would have been thoroughly tired of the office by 1868; further, it seem likely that he would have had at least some confidence that Grant would continue his policies.
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Old 28th June 2015, 06:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
However Lincoln did implement the first personal income tax, create a Federal money supply in the form of the 'greenbacks' and more.

These measures were necessary to finance the war. I've never seen any evidence that Lincoln saw any other need for them. Additionally, he favored protective tariffs and infrastructure construction, which at the time were seen as pro-business positions.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
He also spoke out against unbridled capitalism ("These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people") and against the idea that labour was always the servant of capital ("Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration").

From How Few Remain, pp. 354-355:
Quote:
Half an hour after the speech was done, he was still alternately shaking hands and arguing. That brash young cavalry colonel stuck a finger in his chest and growled, "You, sir, are a Marxian Socialist."

His tone was anything but approving. Lincoln found himself surprised; men who so emphatically disagreed with his positions seldom came so close to identifying their true nature. "That is near the mark-near, but not quite on it, Colonel…?" he said.

"Roosevelt," the cavalry officer answered impatiently. "Theodore Roosevelt."

Lincoln could hardly be considered more anti-business than TR, yet Turtledove doesn't see TR as showing even minimal socialist sympathies.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Though if groomed by Lincoln, and with several years as VP, he might have been more able to run and win.

Clearly you're assuming that Lincoln would have stood for reelection in 1868, and that JLC would have been chosen as his running mate. I think this would have been highly unlikely for several reasons, but the main one (ar ar) is that he was from the same state as Lincoln's first VP, Hannibal Hamlin.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Lincoln himself wasn't that experienced in politics before standing for the presidency.

He had a lot more experience than Chamberlain, IMO.
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Old 29th June 2015, 09:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
.....
Surely you don't believe that killing the men would have killed the idea, do you?
.....

Actually, much of the "glorious Southern heritage" drivel was manufactured well after the Civil War. The Confederate flag was popularized in the '50s as a symbol of resistance to the civil rights movement. If the Confederate leaders had been hanged after the war as traitors to the United States, it would have been harder for future generations to portray them as heroes of a noble cause.

Possibly relevant:
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...he.single.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/...s-over/396482/
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