Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Caliphs of Córdoba: Chapter II

Hisham II's Reign Leading up to the First Berber War
People ready to harass the ships full of Berber emigrants

Early on in the stages of his 'true' rule, Hisham II tried to refoucus the kingdom on many of the things his father wanted to accomplish. He foucused on increasing the academic and cultural output of the many libraries and mosques that fell into despair over the course of  Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir's regency. One major problem that came early on was that he found enemies in the Berber minority that had came to populate the country during Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir's time as regent. The people that had supported the lustful advisor would, not surprisingly, have little support for the current caliph. Some Berbers returned to their homeland in North Africa, but some stayed in Cordoba to try and agitate the local populace to petition for the reinstatement of the old rule.

Hisham knew that he needed to do something about this. At first he thought to make a decree to expel all Barbers from Cordoba from force, but that would likely cause too much tension with their southern neighbor, the Fatmid Caliphate, who valued Berbers. Instead, he settled upon trying to make the Berbers not as distrustful of him. He decided that they will be charged lower taxes next time the tax collector comes to their towns. This was something that made the Berbers very happy, but everyone else was much less enthused that they did not get a similar lowering.

In a few years, this tax was repealed and the Berbers paid the same amount as everybody else. Unfortunately, these Berbers were quick to forget and also quick to anger. Their immigration was yet again restricted as it had been during his father’s reign. They began leaving en masse just as quickly as they came to Cordóba. Many of them left from al-Jazirat on the southern tip of Iberia and headed to Tanja, a Cordóban city on the North African coastline. They went here instead of Marrakech, as the caliph was advising, because the travel was much cheaper. The movement of people reached its peak around June 1013. The town of Tanja was bursting at the seams with people trying to find places to stay and food to eat. Berbers were scooping up goods and food at the market with all of the money they saved from not spending taxes after they left everything they had at home. The locals were very angry that by the time they got to the markets, there was little left for them until the next caravan of goods came.

The day of June 18, 1013, the locals got together to plan to keep the Berbers away from their city. They ran through the streets yelling, looting, and causing some general chaos. They gathered on the port, where a ship full of Berbers was approaching. As it got closer, people yelled for them to turn away or go to Marrakech. The boat refused, and decided to land. Angry, the locals began throwing various objects at the ship. The Berbers panicked, and they tried to sail away. Instead, the side of the ship that had been weakened broke open, spilling its contents into the ocean or on the deck. The Berbers scrambled to swim to the coast or run from the mob of angry locals.

The hulk of the ship sailed out to the Atlantic with a few dozen Berbers still alive clinging on to the wreckage. Luckily for them, a trading ship full of gold and salt bound for Europe crossed paths. They took the men into their ships and asked them all about what had happened. The merchants were very angry about the whole event, but they carried on as usual selling their goods across the Mediterranean. When they returned to Marrakech, they told local leaders of how Hisham was prosecuting Berbers. Word spread quickly through the Fatmid Caliphate, and the caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah who ruled from Cario was angry when he heard this news. After all, Berbers were crucial in the founding of the caliphate and the Córdobans were the Fatmids enemies, so when the time came to strike back, there was no hesitation. Here began the First Berber War.

TCOC: Map of Southern America, 1500

This is a map from the future of my Caliphs of Córdoba timeline, where a Córdoban sailor discovers the new world in 1407, almost a century earlier than in our world. This starts colonization quite a bit earlier, and this is what South America looks like in this world by 1500.

Please check out a larger version to see all of the detail here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Caliphs of Cordoba: Chapter I

The Caliphate of Cordoba was a center of architecture and learning in the midst of a backwards and feudal Europe. It was even powerful enough to grab the title of Caliphate in competition with Baghdad after a failed invasion of the Fatmids. Their caliphate was at a golden age in the 10th century, with learning and academia proliferating through Al-Hakam II's library of 40,000 volumes. He also opened up diplomatic relations with the Christian kingdoms of France the Byzantine Empire among others.

Al-Hakam II died peacefully in 976 with Hisham II being his sole heir. The problem with his heir was that he was only 10 years of age, and therefore unfit to rule at the time. Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir, who was his fathers top advisor, took the child under his wing and raised him until adulthood. Over this period of time, he served all of the duties of caliph. As the boy became a man, and as it grew time for him to claim the title of caliph, he began to crave keeping his power more and more. He made Hisham more and more isolated from his people in Cordoba and encouraged heavy Berber immigration in order increase his support base. By the time Hisham was around 20 years of age, he was Caliph in name only, and Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir was Caliph in all but name. By the time of his death in 1008 his son Abd al-Malik and then his brother Abd al-Rahman held the power. Hisham II, being plenty mature enough to rule, grew increasingly discontent with not being able to hold the power of Caliph. When he heard that Abd al-Rahman was going to be present at a raid into Christian territory, he knew that it would be now or never if he wanted to make a powerful move to assert himself.

The night of July 13, 1008, Hisham took around three dozen men loyal to him and armed them. He stormed the palace in a manner that was full of fanfare and also bloodless. He sat in his father's chair and claimed the title of true Caliph, and he invested all power to rule in himself and none in his former advisors descendants. Abd al-Malik, who was present with the advisors, was the only one to speak out against this. He said that he had no place to wield the real power. Hisham II reacted by imprisoning him. The rest of his advisors were spared the fate, and he let them to continue to hold their current position. However, he forcibly weaned himself from their advice to make himself and the title of Caliph steer away from becoming symbolic or ceremonial.

Another act of Hisham II was also performed that night at the raid in León. He sent an assasin to the raid scene to kill Al-Mansur Ibn Abi's brother Abd al-Rahman in order to eliminate a power hungry potential claimant and also to enact some revenge on a personal level. The assasin was successful, with an arrow piercing clean through his heart. The raid party was convinced the killer was Leónese, which made many of them to make a full ransack of the area. The village was devastated, and the raid party came home with a number of items of value. They also found the balance of power shifted.

Hisham II was pleased to see the raid successful, but played on their emotions and acted woeful over Abd al-Rahman's death. One of the men in the group described how he was the only one to have been killed in the raid, and how his killer came out of the dark. He thought that that was very suspicious, and that León must have spies if they knew when the raid was and who was pulling the strings. Hisham took the opportunity to look through the court and his adivsors to eliminate competitors who wanted him out of power and the old system back in place.

By asserting his power, Hisham II was able to keep the title Caliph from degredation to symbol, and he also created some pseudo causus belli to go to war on León, the supposed killer of the man who held power in Cordoba. He wanted to show the Muslim community and the Christian kingdoms that his rule would not falter and that al-Andalus was not destined to fall into the trap of petty, squabbling kingdoms.

I got distracted by some of my other thoughts and ideas while writing my other TL, and this is what came out. The POD, or point of divergence, is that Hisham II grows increasingly discontent with not having  power and decides to take action, which he does not in out history. This caused the caliph to become symbolical and caused the collapse of the Caliphate into taifa kingdoms.

Monday, December 24, 2012

AFE: Map of North America, 1791

This is a map of North America post-dissolution. All of the details of this will be discussed in the next story update.

Making Alternate History now on Facebook

I have recently created a page on Facebook for Making Alternate History, where you can see blog updates and various maps, flags, and photos.

Another great page which you should check out is the Alternate History page. This page features stories, maps and photos from all across the spectrum of AH.

Friday, December 21, 2012

AFE Chapter 6: Virginia's Last Straw

It was a hot late August sun that rose upon the militia men as they quietly went to work shining boots and loading weapons in preparation for the days task, which was something of the likes that had never been attempted in the New World. Commander had said that Henry was to meet with him at noon to strike a compromise about what to do with the CAF, and it was precisely at that time they shall bring him to his knees and drag him into a prison on charges of aiding an enemy of the state. Some men were nervous, others were exciting, but almost all had that same nagging feeling in the back of their minds: what will this possibly do to America? At the time, they felt it was the only way to keep it together.

They day started as usual, but the streets were absent the usual committee members with pamphlets in their hand to get people to oppose the new constitution. Militiamen were also mucking about, which was unusual. Many people felt uncomfortable and some shop owners asked them to return to their barracks. They replied by saying they were “searching for enemies of the state.” However, they all began to gather towards the commander’s office during high noon, just as planned. 5 men gathered near the door, greeting Governor Henry as he stepped into their commander’s office. Quickly, two men grabbed his arms and chained handcuffs on.

“What in the name of-”. The commander interrupted by saying “Welcome Governor. You have been hereby charged with aiding an enemy of the state, which is treason! TREASON, my good fellow. Now, I hope you enjoy your time rotting in jail.

“I hope you enjoy your time fighting off the Virginian people,” he replied with a scowl.

Unfortunately for the militia men, the governor was right. As soon as they saw thier governor being dragged around in chains, they were absolutely infuriated. An angry mob of around 20 or so people began to gather around the soldiers, screaming for them to let him go. One farmer, who was selling a selection of fruits and veggies, threw an apple as hard as he could at one guard. In response, he put his musket to the face of the man. For the Virginian people at that point, they decided enough was enough and attempted to free the governor. They charged the militia with pots, pans and whatever else they could find. In the confusion, one of the militiamen fired, but it only made a hole in a pan of the man charging. The rest of the militiamen did not open fire, not wishing to cause too much conflict. One militiaman, a Virginian, unlocked the handcuffs on the governor. He whispered something inaudible as another militiaman whose loyalties lied somewhere else knocked him unconscious with a smack from the butt of his musket, and smacked the governor with it as well. He yelled in pain as he tenderly touched his left arm. The mob cheered with yet another call of sic semper tyrannis and they placed the governor upon their shoulders and proudly marched back to the capitol.

The governors arm was quickly bandaged so he could address an emergency meeting of the House. His speech would be fondly remembered by Virginians, and made Rhode Island a little less crazy. His speech said that it was the time to declare independence from the US, which was quite the popular opinion with the delegates in the room. A committee was organized as soon as possible to write the Virginian Declaration of Independence.

North of the Ohio, people were in dismay at the declaration. The United States Congress was very much opposed to letting Virginia go, and the fact that Virginia wanted a chunk of the Northwest Territory. There was also the issue of the rest of the southern states. North Carolina was very much under Virginia's wing and would surely leave if Virginia was allowed to do so. The first nation to recognize its independence was Rhode Island, but a big recognition that made the US tremble just a little was from the senile man across the pond: King George III, America's enemy from the revolution. He and his parliament were pleased that their enemy was weakening, and that through the example of America, no other country would revolt.

Arthur St. Clair, who was still confederate President, said that he thought the US needed to leave Virginia alone, so he recognized their independence without the consent of anybody else in the government. Virginians celebrated, but the Congress did not. They voted, by a 70% margin, to remove him from office. In an emergency election conducted by Congress, a large majority asked for George Washington to replace his seat. This was the last straw for most southerners, who now saw him as a traitor to everything he fought for and and somebody who was becoming increasingly more anti-slavery. Secession movements in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina were in full force, and in the north New Hampshire was drifting away from the union as well. It was looking as if the last hours of the United States were upon them.

AFE: The Royal Family of the Kingdom of Rhode Island

This is a map of the family lineage of the Kingdom of Rhode Island's royal family, which began from the marriage of the Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry and daughter of King George III Princess Amelia.

Making this map got me a little sidetracked from writing, but now that it is break I should be pushing out a lot more updates. Coming up in AFE is the balkanization of the US, so keep your eyes peeled for the update!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

AFE: List of Monarchs of the Kingdom of Rhode Island

This is a list I made that is from the future of my current timeline. I thought it would be very interesting to talk about creating an American based monarchy in this timeline, and this is where that idea took me.

Monarchs of the Kingdom of Rhode Island (1811-Present)
Oliver I (Oliver Hazard Perry) (House of Perry-Hanover) 1811-1834 [1]
Oliver II (Oliver Alfred Perry) (House of Perry-Hanover) 1834-1859 [2]
Amelia I (Amelia Elizabeth Perry) (House of Perry-Hannover) 1859-1878 [3]
William I (William Hazard Bradford) (House of Perry-Bradford) 1878-1917 [4]
Oliver III (Oliver George Perry) (House of Perry-Hannover) 1917-1960 [5]
William II (William John Bradford) (House of Perry-Bradford) 1960-1993 [6]
Charlotte I (Charlotte Amelia Perry) (House of Perry-Hanover) 1993- [7]

[1] He was married to Princess Amelia, daughter of George III after Britian wanted them to make a monarchy in order to solidify their alliance and continue goodwill between the two countries. Oliver Perry was the most charismatic and well liked of the candidates, as well as the fact that Amelia was fond of him.
[2] He was the eldest son of Oliver I. During his reign, he began normalizing relations with the FSA and France.
[3] She was the first queen to hold the throne because she was his eldest child and his son, Octavius, was generally considered to be too aggressive and power hungry to do so. She married the great grandson of the politician William Bradford and produced one son and one daughter.
[4] John Bradford had wishes for his son to become king instead of Augustus, the son of Octavius. This caused some major enough disagreements to where the Parliament had to revise ascension laws and nominate William to the throne. The royal family made an agreement by creating the House of Perry-Bradford. His major accomplishment was gaining the Oliver (Virgin) Islands. He had one son.
[5] As per the Ascension Act of 1878, Augustus' son Oliver III recieved the throne. He kept Rhode Island out of the Great American War and harbored scientific advancement.
[6] Upon Oliver III death, a Perry-Bradford got the throne. He helped to heal the wounds caused by his grandfather's house split.
[7] Only the second woman on the throne and only in late teens upon ascension. As of 2012, she is not yet married.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

AFE Chapter 5: Committee of Prison Stormers

After Rhode Island's succession, many radical anti-centralists across the country came to live in Rhode Island. They were welcomed with open arms, but that doesn't help that the state was rather small. Inns and taverns were starting to charge exorbitant prices to stay, and many people who were used to farming moved. Some even ended up in Connecticut: on accident, of course, but they still considered themselves under the jurisdiction of Rhode Island.

Meanwhile in the United States, many people were calling for federalization in order to hold remaining states together and give them a stronger bond. Many politicians signed a call for a convention in Dover to create a plan for a central government. More politicians came to the signing than delegates at the Philadelphia Convention, but only one was from south of the Potomac. Southern states were increasingly concerned that the central government would place heavy tariffs on slave trade or ban it entirely. Feelings of animosity were pretty bad in the south also because of some wealthy landowners who did not want to Rhode Island because they would lose their plantations and all their comfortable lifestyle to get away from the confederal government.

Finally, on April 3, 1790, the Dover Convention began. There were delegates representing the states of. Many delegates were pleased to see George Washington step out of retirement. He cited concerns that everything he fought for was about to fall apart. Under the leadership of Washington, the convention rallied to find a solution to the United State's woes. Most delegates rose in support for federalization. Before the month was out, the committees had finalized the Federal Constitution.

However, there were some people in Connecticut that had wanted to hold onto estates. Connecticut was in a near 50/50 division over the Philadelphia Amendment. These people who did not support the amendment generally gathered in the city of New London in the eastern portion of Connecticut. They called themselves the Committee of Anti-Federals in response to the proposed federal constitution, and regularly published propaganda that was distributed across the country. In August 1790, they decided they were going to refuse to pay taxes to the confederal government. When this happened, some people across the country followed the mandate, but it was extremely popular in east Connecticut. At one neighborhood near New London, everybody refused to open their doors. Tensions came to a point where the police were brought in to threaten with arrest if taxes are not paid. An overwhelming majority did not crack under the pressure, and were brought to prison as a result. CAF members not imprisoned said that the imprisonment was a "blatant violation of civil liberties by federalist pawns". By August 27, 1790, the group protested in front of the New London prison. A speaker inspired followers to storm the building and release the prisoners. They did this, but it wasn't without blood. 3 anti-federalists and 2 police officers died. The CAF members quickly fled the scene and went off into unknown locations. The city was in confused turmoil with officers and government militias repairing, searching and trying to figure out exactly what just happened.

CAF members, in the chaos, were able to cross the border into Rhode Island. The government welcomed them into a secret safe house in order to regroup. From this vantage point, the committee published a new piece about their protest and the government's "government's federalist pawns in the law keeping forces outlandish and barbarous crimes against civil liberties." This pamphlet was printed in the newspapers in Rhode Island and was distributed across the country. This made many angry, and the situation became even more dire between the states.

The wrath of the Committee of Anti-Federals came to a head in the humid streets of Richmond in June. As Washington was out campaigning for ratification, angry protesters began to shout and boo as he said federalization is the only thing that can stop the country from tearing itself apart. A Virginian screamed "Washington is a traitor to Virginia and liberty!" He replied by trying to tell the crowd that if America splits, then liberty dies. Unfortunately for him, that opinion was not popular with the crowd. One protester stood up on top of the podium, and wrapped his arm around Washington's neck with knife in hand. Many people in the crowd panicked and screamed as the militia swiftly took the man far away from Washington as he was kicking and screaming. Onlookers went home incredibly shocked and shaken up.

The local CAF branch was rather surprised that the man went so far rouge, but they were quick to turn the tables against Washington. They gathered at the nearest militia barracks to inquire where the man was. One replied that he was slowly rotting away in prison, which resulted in a chorus of laughter from the surrounding men. However the committee, in what was becoming the usual fashion for them, responded angrily by storming the Richmond Jail. They got the man out by knocking at least 10 guards unconscious. The militia quickly mobilized to search for the man, who was now officially considered an enemy of the state.

By five o’clock in the afternoon, he was found hiding with other committee members in the backroom of a tavern. The tavern’s owner and the committee members were promptly taken custody, but the committee members were quick to fight. One broke free, and with a call of sic semper tyrannis, he knocked a militiaman unconscious with a chair. Soon, it broke out into a bloody brawl with fists, pots, pans and bayonets flying. In the end, the survivors fled or were quietly taken into prison The militia commander stationed in Richmond who answered to the confederal general pronounced that all Committee of Anti-Federal members in Virginia were hereby declared enemies of the state. Weary of more violence, Patrick Henry said he disagreed with the decree and would use any veto power he had to get rid of the oppressive verdict. Now government officials and the military in Virginia were completely at odds with each other, and tension was at an all time high. Unfortunately, the commander’s blood was about boiled, and he decided something drastic needed to be done. Patrick Henry needed to be removed from office- by force.

AFE: Map of North America, 1920

Here is yet another map from my alternate universe, this time set in 1920, just before the outbreak of the American Great War.

"The year is 1920. A great war between monarchists and republicans was concluded 15 years ago, and the impacts on North America were huge. The FSA was sold the greater Toronto region and Louisiana was sold huge swathes of Rupert's Land in order to pay back the republicans who won the war. The Caribbean was also divided up between American powers after Europe lost its grip. Mexico felt betrayed by Spain, which was now known as Iberia, to the point where they wanted to cut off any resemblance to it. Mexico fell under the rule of a Nahuatlist autocrat who make reforms to implement the Nahuatl language and reject Spanish. On top of all of this was concerns over a very expansionist and autocratic Georgia..."

I should have an actual written update soon once break comes around and I get some free time back!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

AFE: Map of North America, 2000

This is a map of North America, set in the AH story I am currently writing. This is where the story will end up, but I still have quite a long ways to go before I get to this point. I finally figured out about the masking function in Illustrator, which enabled me to change the borders to how I wanted them. I think this map is a pretty big improvement over the others that I have made so far, and I think I will be getting more into this as I get a better feel on how to work the program.

To look at this map in greater detail, please look at a larger version of this in my Flickr photostream.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What if the Persians were victorious in the Greco-Persian Wars?

What if the Persians, during the second invasion of Greece, were not defeated at the Battle of Salamis and went on to conquer the rest of Greece? The result is a Persian Empire that exists and exerts influence for the next few thousand years. In this world, Zoroastrianism is the plurality among worldwide believers. It has spread throughout the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India, the steppes of Central Asia, and even Australia: known here as Achmenistan, named after the early dynasty that established Persia as a power. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

AFE TL: The Republic of Rhode Island Infobox

I found out about the Wikipedia 'sandbox' function today: I thought it would be the perfect place to create a box from an alternate world with an Alternate Wikipedia article, so I decided to look at what the Republic of Rhode Island might look like in 2012. This was the result:

These are a ton of fun making, and I plan to do more as more new countries come up in my timeline.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Civilization V Gods & Kings: Aztec One City Challenge (Part 1)

Today, I started a game as the Aztecs on a Continents map with all other settings standard. I am aiming for a cultural victory by taking advantage of the Aztec Unique Ability, which is a small culture gain from each enemy unit killed. My strategy was to go through the Tradition policy tree: Legalism, Monarchy, Landed Elite, Aristocracy, and finally Oligarchy. I also wanted to go with a Fertility Rites/Floating Gardens/Hanging Gardens combo that would get my city to grow quickly. However, I did not expect it to grow this quickly. From about size 12 up to size 19, it only took about 4 turns to grow. My city got to size 20 by turn 134, or 475 AD.

Here is the first screenshot, showing city specs by turn 118. My production was excellent for the time: most buildings took only 3 turns and world wonders 8 turns. This caused me to go on quite a wonder spam.

The reason production was so high was because of the Religious Community belief that I had taken. By the time I adopted my religion, the city was around size 10, and grew to 15 not long after. That meant I could take the full benefit much early on, which was a huge boost to production.

The only thing not so great thus far is my science output, which is rather low at this point. World Church (+1 culture for every 5 followers outside your Civ) seems pretty weak after using it for a while. I think it needs to be changed to only 4 followers, like Tithe, or include followers in your own civilization. Let's hope that I can turn this great start into victory!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

AFE Chaper 4: The Warwick Revolution

On September 29, 1788, a large group of Rhode Islanders protested outside of the militia barracks in Warwick. After the amendment, new central government militias had replaced state funded ones across the United States. Some protesters demanded they leave, and the militia refused to do so. Some people were yelling that liberty has died, and that they were being "occupied" by the central government. Then finally, a man at the front said that they would be forced off of their state's land if they did not do so willingly. The militiamen yet again replied with a no. The man ripped a lamp of the side of the barracks and shoved it into the building, lighting it on fire. People were intitilally shocked, but they soon gave a cheer when some men went running. Some militiamen attempted to arrest some protesters, but their attempts were futile. Brawls broke out, and one person even fired on the militia. There would be a number of shots in return, but they did not hurt anybody. 

Within about 90 seconds, there were 10 militiamen and 5 protesters unconscious from the brawls. People were screaming and running as other buildings started to catch the flames. Becuase of the chaos, not enough people were collected enough to get a force to put out the fires. It would take a fire fighting force from Cranston, a city very close to Providence, to stop the flames. Nobody died, but 3 militiamen sustained severe concussions and were deemed no longer fit for service. Messesngers arrived in Providence to take the local militia down to Warwick. When the militia arrived around an hour later, it took around 60 citizens prisoner. Many arrested did participate in the riots and injured militiamen, but some arrested had nothing to do with the riots and were thrown into prison with little evidence. 

That night, hardly anybody in the town slept. People were on the streets without a home, drunks were looting the local shops, and men with families who were able to find the peace to sleep slept with a musket close by. Governor came out by demanding the confederal government release the accused from a confedral prison in  Massachsetts and hand them over to a state prison. The federal government refused to do so, citing concerns that they would spread general anarchy throughout the area. This is the moment when Governor uttered those infamous words: "They have made an unreasonable grab for power. We shall counter." The Governor, in an emergency session of state congress, told them of the horrific situation in Warwick. He issued a proclamation to them that was unanimously agreed to and signed by every member: a declaration of independence. 

This shocked the United States that Rhode Island really wanted to break away. Congress knew that it needed to vote on whether or not to recognize Rhode Island as independent as soon as possible, so they held an emergency session in a Virginian courtroom. Many said that they had no place to break away. Arthur St.Clair, the President of Congress assembled at this time, referenced the idiom "one bad apple ruins the entire basket." He felt that the whole country would be more strongly united if Rhode Island, the epicenter of the firestorm of controversy, were no longer a part of it. The mood was rather somber as about 80% of members agreed to let Rhode Island leave the confederacy. The only members who voted against letting them go were 2 from Connecticut and 1 from Massachusetts, citing concerns about what they considered to be a rather radical state turning independent and threatening their borders. The Republic of Rhode Island was just born. Many hoped that the people of the United States could move on as a stronger country after the breakup, but it was not to be.

AFE Chapter 3: Courts Under Crisis

The United States Congress assembled dragged itself miles to the courts in Rhode Island where they wanted to challenge the legality of the amendment. The initial proceedings were rather short, since both accused each other of circumventing the Articles of Confederation. Rhode Island claimed signing the "illegal" amendment showed they had no respect for the law and should be forced to repeal it. The confederal government came back by essentially calling the state government full of hypocrites, and saying that they had no respect for the law by carrying on with pre-amendment taxation and tariffs. 

The court was arguably biased towards the state, and ruled in the states favor. However, the central government noted a certain clause in the Articles: that the courts of 10 states had to agree with Rhode Island's ruling for the federal government to repeal it. The state did not object to this interestingly enough. It was noted that if the amendment was truly illegal, then all states would be required to rule against Congress. Obviously, central states that were initial supporters would be in support of congress, which means there would be no chance of it being repealed. That meant that the 75% clause actually worked in favor of Rhode Island, but only in order to repeal it. The state slightly glossed over the fact, but many others took notice.

After these initial proceedings, the amendment started really being put into action. The confederal government began to get a steady influx of funds after the taxes being split up between them and the states. This caused the militias to become a nationally funded entity rather than state funded. Congress also had the courage to ask states who had been carrying out it's own diplomacy, most notably Virginia, to cease doing that. It seemed like the nation was being tied together a little stronger, but some criticized it as a loss of states rights and liberties.

As the case moved through the courts of the various states, that contradiction mentioned above would be the scourge of Rhode Island. Not surprisingly, the states Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Deleware ruled in favor of the government. These states quickly started to gather the nickname "the Central Four" among the other states. The fist state to rule in Rhode Island's favor was Virginia, but only with a slight majority. The reason they did so was because of the incident where the federal government asked Virginia to cease participating in it's own diplomatic pursuits. North Carolina also ruled in Rhode Island's favor, but mentioned that they didn't care much for RH and that the ruling was to more to represent themselves. This comment pushed Rhode Island even further away from the rest of the states. Massachussets, Georgia, and South Carolina ruled in favor of the central government. Connecticut had no ruling, the court was absolutely split. 

Surprisingly, New Hampshire ruled in favor of Rhode Island, which went against the ratification vote. The state decided this because they particularly disliked the new federal militias. Men from all over the country would staff these, it was no longer an each state protect itself situation. Many people disliked that, especially the state with the motto "Live Free or Die." New York was on an especially slippery slope. As Alexander Hamilton's home state, they respected him and his ideals for central government and a strongly united country. On the flip side, the amendment seemed to be tearing the country apart, and they felt the country would be much better off without such divisions.

In the end, New York was not able to make a decision either. The final count stood at 7 in favor of Congress, 4 in favor of Rhode Island and 2 undecided. That meant no 75% majority, and no decision about what should be done. Congress decreed that, according to the Articles of Confederation, they should be the last resort in case of extreme debate or a tie. Of course, they made a "perfectly legal ruling that made the amendment officially legal."

Such a remark, that Congress could be the last one to decide in case of a need for a last resort, made many state leaders angry. The Virginian government would enter in talks with the central government for what it believed to be abuse of its power, which dragged the already exhausted Congress through yet another state court. Many people across the Unites States were concerned Rhode Island would do something drastic in response to Congress' decision. They in fact went past what anyone else expected them to do.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

AFE Chapter 2: There is Compromise, and Then There is Rhode Island

Around July of 1787, supporters of the amendment began their campaign in earnest. They talked to many state government assemblies and to the citizens of the state to get them behind the plan for economic reform. Supporters pushed the amendment by telling people that the central government would no longer have to deal with chronic underfunding and that would make America much stronger without having to give the central government too much power. 

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Deleware showed strong support early on. They felt like the states were far too separated and needed to be stronger. They also felt a stronger central government would make America more respected among world powers and be better equipped to defend themselves. 

Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts were on the edge about the proposed amendment. On one hand, the 75% minimum requirement clause put a lot of power into their hands since they were large states and had a lot of clout in the central government and in smaller states. On the other hand, a central government with more surplus funding means that states could be competing for tax revenue, which would make discontent citizens and potentially an underfunded state government. Patrick Henry came out against the amendment, saying that "we cannot allow the central government to become bloated and corrupt. The only people who Virginians can trust their money with is other Virginians!" 

States who had come out strongly against the amendment were Georgia, the Carolinas, and Rhode Island. The southern states who relied heavily on agriculture felt certain that the central government, based in a northern free state, would impose heavy tariffs on slave trading and cripple their economies. Rhode Island felt that it's voice would be heavily drowned out by the 75% minimum clause and that it would just be dragged along with the rest of the states. Most of all, they were afraid the state government would have no power left if it could not tax as it had been currently doing. However, they still felt secure in their veto power since every single state still had to vote for the amendment for it to be passed.

Many politicians in the country were frustrated by the fact that Rhode Island was so stubborn that not a single piece of legislation could not go through it. John Collins, the governor of Rhode Island even said that the more powerful states were in fact jealous that the smallest state could hold as much power as they did. He also said that their power to effectively veto anything is the true beauty of the Articles of Confederation, and they don't want it changed. 

When people in supporter states heard this, they were baffled by how Rhode Island just acted like they had all of the power. Alexander Hamilton called for a meeting between the initial writers sometime during late August to revise the amendment. They were in unanimous agreement that Rhode Island was blocking important legislation and that something needed to be done. To counter this, they changed the 75% clause from only applying to future amendments to the proposed amendment as well as all future ones. The revision also limited the government from fully banning slave trade in order to get the southern states more open to the amendment. After the release of the revised amendment, the Rhode Island state government released an official statement that the amendment was illegal according to the Articles of Confederation by claiming that the 75% clause was legally inapplicable to this amendment, and warned against any further ratifications by other states. This would turn into a major point of contention in American politics throughout the upcoming decade: if popular opinion goes strongly for something that is arguably against the law, then do you go along with the law or the opinion?

As of October 1, the ratification period began. Rhode Island, immediately and predictably gave a resounding nay. On October 3, 1787, a meeting between Pennsylvania and New Jersey state officials was held. They jointly decided to ratify the amendment, becoming the first two votes out of the now required 10. Five days later, Maryland ratified, and then Delaware ratified a week later. New York, Alexander Hamilton's home state, was swayed to his side and became the fifth ratifier on October 13. There was a gap of about two weeks before the sixth ratification: this one came from Massachusetts. Popular opinion appeared to be for the amendment as previously opposed states Georgia and South Carolina brought the ratification count to eight a week afterwards on November 2. They finally agreed with the compromises to slave trade, but Virginia and North Carolina did not. They both voted nay on ratification. It came down to New Hampshire and Connecticut, who after nearly a month after Georgia did so, voted to ratify on November 29, bringing vote count up to 10. According to the amendment, that made it an official piece of law. 

Alexander Hamilton gave a resounding victory speech to supporters in New York City which ended with a booming cheer from the crowd and a very happy central government. North Carolina and Virginia, who both voted nay, grudgingly accepted the new law. Rhode Island was especially unhappy about it. Some of the government was convinced enough that the amendment was not legally passed to carry on like it had never existed, and imposed all of their own taxes. Once Christmas had passed, the state government decided to challenge the central government over the amendment in a court of law in the case that would become the United States v. Rhode Island.

Review: Lego Hero Factory 6222 Core Hunter

My local Target just got some of the new summer sets in stock, most notably the Star Wars and Hero Factory. I picked up one of the $12.99 Hero Factory set, Core Hunter. It was the most appealing set just by looking at the bag, and once I built it, it didn't disappoint. The picture below is the front of the bag: the Core Hunter looks quite menacing and it really captures your attention sitting on the shelf.

Below is the back of the bag. It shows how to enter your code on the Hero Core onto the website, and also show the head at actual size. At this view, we can finally see that the head is a Glatorian head with an axle at the top to attach the mask.

Here is a layout of the parts in the set. There are 51 total pieces, which might not sound like a lot, but it feels quite full when complete. There are quite a few unique pieces in this set. The red claws with clips look like they could be very useful in non-HF creations.

This is a side view of the finished product. It looks sleek: slightly bulky, but not overly so. However, I think the figure would look better a little longer arms or a little shorter legs. I will probably try to mod it and post my results.

And below is a battle shot between my version of Bulk 3.0 and Core Hunter. The figure is overall fairly posable and has a good amount of playability.

Overall, I really like this set, and think that any Hero Factory fan would enjoy it. There are quite a few good parts that could be used on other  HF MOCs and non-HF MOCs. I hope you all enjoyed the review of Core Hunter, and look for my upcoming mod!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

AFE Chapter 1: Go Ahead, Blame It on the Horse

On August 31, 1786, Alexander Hamilton's horse rolled it's front right hoof on an uneven road in northern Pennsylvania, and proceeded to collapse on the ground and break the tibia on it's front right leg. Alexander Hamilton was uninjured from the fall and only recived a few scrapes and bruises. Egbert Benson, who was traveling with him to the Annapolis Convention, helped Alexander find a place to stay while he looked for a new horse. Alexander objected to staying and said that he could at least walk some of the way. Both of them knew it would not get them to Annapolis any faster, so he agreed to stay displeased when they were. It took them and the help of many gracious citizens to find a horse at a cheap enough price that Alexander would still have enough money for food and night stays when needed. It took them two days to find a suitable one, but Alexander doubted whether or not they would still reach Annapolis in time.

On September 11, 1786, the Annapolis Convention began. Many delegates were missing, but the present delegates were most disappointed by the absence of the two delegates from New York, especially the influential Alexander Hamilton who had called for reform more than anyone else on the American political scene. The meeting would carry on without either of the New York delegates, and without one of their strongest voices, present delegates were concerned about how well their call would be received. Never the less, it produced a statement telling Congress and the States of their intent to hold a convention in Philadelphia and some proposals for what they intend to accomplish. 

Congress approved of the proposed convention, but the states were wary. The overall feeling was that some of the ideas presented were bordering on monarchist, which disgusted most Americans. Rhode Island felt that the Constitution would go against its favor no matter what, and stated it would not attempt to send delegates as it had done so in Annapolis. The biggest blow to the proposal came from Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia, one of the most ouspoken opponents of a strong centralized government. He announced that he felt the message was weak, poorly assembled and absent of the approval of Alexander Hamilton himself, which he thought rendered it nearly worthless. Many agreed with the Governor, and proclaimed that if the biggest proponent of a convention did not come, then why should anyone else come?

Alexander was very disheartened by the lack of support for the convention. By the time he got word out of his misshap with his horse as the reason he was not present, most people had moved on past the idea and stuck to the Articles. Still with hope that the states would rethink their rejections, he began to write up his own plan for a new government, which would come to be known as the Hamilton Plan.

When the March of 1787 came around, fewer delegates than expected showed up to the Philadelphia Convention. The states of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Massachussets, New Hampshire, and North Carolina were represented with a total of 21 delegates. The most notable absence was George Washignton, who wished to remain in retirement. He also felt that it would only tear the country apart for somebody as influential as he to attend it. Because of this,  Alexander Hamilton was nearly unanimously elected President of the convention. 

Hamilton was the first to propose his plan to the delegates. It consisted of a two house government, where both were determined by population size.The lower house would be elected by the people, then the upper house elected by the lower house. The upper house would then elect who would be President. Some liked the idea, but many would be angered by the plan and call it monarchist and wiping out the ability of the smaller states to have a voice. The delegates from New Hampshire presented their own plan, which consisted of each state getting three seats in the lower house and two seats in the upper. The lower would elect the upper, who would then elect the President.

By the second day, over half of the delegates were very unhappy with the plans, and proposed only an amendment to the Articles, that would most notably give the central government the ability to place tariffs and taxes to avoid the situation like the one where Rhode Island imposed taxation on traffic passing through the interstate post route and through other roads. With a completely divided house, they were finally able to get a majority to agree through the economic amendments on the Articles of Confederation. This amendment would split the power to tax and place tarrifs between the central government and the states and lower the minimum state count for ratification to 75% (state count rounded up if no exact percentage), among other things. They sent the new amendment through a number of committes to refine it, and by early June of 1787, it was ready for ratification by states. 

Alexander Hamilton and other proponents of a stronger central government were slightly dissapointed but they knew that the amendment was a step in the right  direction. He prepared speeches to travel across the country in order to get people to support ratification. However, in hindsight, the speeches had one gaping flaw: one that would come at the cost of the existence of the United States.

I hope everybody enjoyed the first chapter! This is my first alternate history timeline, so any constructive criticism would be very helpful. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

America, the Failed Experiment: an AH Timeline

What if Alexander Hamilton never made it to the Annapolis Convention in time? There would not be a strong enough leader for centralized government supporters to make a sufficient call for a convention to reform the Articles of Confederation, which means that no Constitution comes about from the Philadelphia Convention, only an amendment to the Articles of Confederation. As a result, states get into more disputes with each other to the point where Rhode Island declares full independence from the US. This cascades until we have 13 independent countries where the United States used to be.

I should hopefully have the first chapter of this timeline that will outline exactly how the country fragmented within the next few days. I hope everybody can enjoy my map and the upcoming timeline!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome to Making Alternate History!

Hi everybody! I started this blog out of wanting to share some of my hobbies that I am passionate about. One big one is all kinds of speculative fiction, but alternate history in particular. I want to share some of the great writings and ideas that I come across as well as my own in this genere. I also want to share some things about other hobbies I have, like playing strategy games and collecting Lego. I have been interested in Lego since I was very young, but my interest in strategy gaming and AH has only come about recently. I hope that everybody will enjoy my upcoming posts and posts far into the future!