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Indescribable by Steve Payne

Author says: what if Harry Turtledove's pro-confederacy organisation "America Will Break" had tried something more subtle than time-travellers shipping AK-47s from South Africa in 2010? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

In 1860, on May 18th at the "Wigwam" in Chicago, delegates to the second Republican National Convention nominated former New York Governor William H. Seward for the Presidency.

Agents of the so-called "dark horse" candidate Abraham Lincoln had made extraordinarily determined efforts to swing the vote. So much so, that they had ignored his instruction to refrain from binding commitments by making some incredibly rash promises. Their purpose was to boost Lincoln's share of the first ballot to the critical high water mark of one hundred votes. And yet their efforts were undone by the actions of a single delegate with the decidedly odd name of Andries Rhoodie.

"Most of the delegates having never seen the original, the effect was indescribable" ~ Montgomery Blair Lincoln's agents had brought a series of woodcuts which favourably representing their ugly-looking candidate for the majority delegates who had not seen his likeness (it was not considered appropriate for nominees to attend the convention).

However Rhoodie brought onto the stage a hideous image of Lincoln that was in jarringly sharp contrast to the hanging pictures of the fifteen former Presidents hanging in the Wigwam. Many voters forgot their secret deals with Lincoln's agents and swung their vote to the comfortingly familiar image of Seward. Future Postmaster General Montgomery Blair would later write "Most of the delegates having never seen the original, the effect was indescribable".

Author says this story incoln Snatches the Nomination published in American Heritage Magazine, Spring 2010 & "Guns of the South", Harry Turtledove .
To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

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Steve Payne

Editor 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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