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A Useful Aegis by Steve Payne

Author says: what if Alexander Hamilton's dastardly Federalist plot had succeeded because he orchestrated the arrest of Thomas Jefferson as the "covert leader of the frenchified faction"? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

In 1798: on July 11th, on this day Secretary of State Timothy Pickering and Secretary of War James McHenry journeyed to Mount Vernon to inform George Washington that the secret head of the "American Directory", Thomas Jefferson was under arrest for treason.

Whilst shocking, the report of the arrest was not entirely surprising because Washington viewed Jefferson as "one of the most artful, intriguing, industrious and double-faced politicians in America". Moreover his partner in crime James Monroe had been dismissed from his role as American Minister in France on Washington's orders.

Washington on Jefferson ~ "one of the most artful, intriguing, industrious and double-faced politicians in America"In fact the former President believed that the actual threat of a French invasion was simply a mirage. But, primarily out of a sense of duty he reluctantly agreed to act as the Commander-in-Chief of a Provisional Army of ten new regiments.

And due to his desire to remain at Mount Vernon, and also considering the remote possibility of moblization, Washington accepted Pickering's strange proposal that Colonel Alexander Hamilton (pictured) would be next in command, or rather "the Chief in your absence" as he put it. This recommendation struck Washington as somewhat odd since Hamilton had held a more junior rank to the Chief Artillery Officer in the Contintental Army, Henry Knox (who had also served as the first US Secretary of War).

Of course within two years it was clear that Washington had been wrong-footed by a Federalist conspiracy and the appeal to his patriotism and - yes - sense of nostalgia had been a dastardly ruse. By then "His Excellency" had succumbed to pneumonia, Hamilton had forced the "consolidation" and the "Revolution of 1800" was in full swing. Writing in his memoirs, President Hamilton would later note with some glee that "he [Washington] was a useful aegis to me".

Author says please note that content was substantially repurposed from the source article on Wikipedia. To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

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Steve Payne, Guest Historians of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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