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Daniel asks…

Would American Democracy survived had George Washington been killed at the end of the revolutionary war?

He was such an obvious choice to become the first commander in chief that there wasn’t any real in-fighting about the decision. However, if he had been killed in 1782 say, would the states have found a replacement that would have been acceptable to a majority of them? I’m not sure. Who do you think would have become the first president. I don’t think that you can just assume that it would have been Adams. I suppose that Jefferson would have a had a good shot. He was idealistic, a Virginian, well known, and admired. Of course this alternate reality thread would then ask who would be president in 1803 and would they have agreed to the Louisana Purchase. I guess the bottom line thought behind this question is that when you look around the world today and even in the past couple of hundred years there arn’t a lot of leaders who after starting a new government can then walk away from the power and thereby start his country and people off on a firm footing. So who would it have been?

Tijuana answers:

Well you have a FANTASTIC question here… But you are unintentionally skipping the major factor here, the Constitutional Convention and Washington’s role in it, and in defining what the Presidency is.

Washington didn’t just ride straight from the field at Yorktown, get off his horse and walk right into a White House filled with seceret service guys and helocopters.

The USA was operating as a CONFEDERATION, under the Articles of Confederation. As such we were not a united nation. We were more like the EU is today than what the USA is. (Google Articles of Confederation for details).

This weak Federal Government was poltically popular, in that it wasn’t strong enough to threaten any of the state governments, (or the powerful families that pretty much ran most state governments). The only problem was.. It didn’t work.

Accordingly the Constiutional Convention was called in 1787. (Google FEDERALIST PAPERS for more details). The convention was held in secret (the best book on this subject is MIRACLE AT PHILADELPHIA if you can find a copy). It was at this convention that the Constitution was written, mostly along the lines that Madison laid out.

Jefferson, incidentally, was not present. He had been sent to be our ambassador to France… This was done, in no small part, so that he would NOT be present. He and his ideas were not terribly popular with many of the founders. Adams was off as our ambassador to the UK as I recall, perhaps for similar reasons.

In any case, Washington was elected head of the convention, and it was pretty much assumed that he would be the first President, so the Constitution was written with this in mind. The idea of even HAVING a president was strongly debated (google ANTI-FEDERALIST ) and many patriots (Patrick Henry for example) refused to attend and opposed the Constitutional Convention. (Rhode Island came very close to not signing the Constitution at all). One of the reasons the office of the Presidency was given so much power in the Constitution was that everyone knew Washington would be the guy filling the office.

Because he was the first President many of the things Washington did defined the office. (For one example he refused to run for a third term. Everyone followed that example until FDR in 1940… After FDR it became law that you could not have a third term, but up untill then it was just custom, because Washington had refused to run for one.)

So if Washington had died, we really wouldn’t have the institution of a Presidency, at least not as we know it today. We might have continued as a Confederation, but that wasn’t working and it would have eventually broken apart… If not over issues like taxes then certianly over slavery. We might have had some version of what we have today, with a weaker Executive Office. I think it likely that Alexander Hamilton would have held that office, (Madison was to young at the time) though another of the Revolutionary War generals might have taken it… Or perhaps John Hancock. In any case the country would have had a weaker Federal government and would not have survived the slavery crises of the 1840s and the Civil War.

The start of the 20th Century would probably have seen some remnant of the USA existing in the northern and New England states… Probably as a client state of the British Empire. There would have been some sort of slave holding version of the Confederacy in the South… Perhaps it would have even expanded into taking Cuba, perhaps not. The Republic of Texas would exist, and would likely have continued to fight against Mexico to exapand and remained independent. Louisiana would probably have been taken from France after Waterloo, and been British. California might have been brought into the Texan Republic, or the British Empire, or remained part of Mexico…there is a slight chance it might have gone inedependent (Bear Flag Republic) but the California Republic was largely the result of the USA working behind the scenes. Alaska would have remained part of Russia… And probably have been the scene of some fighting in the Crimean War. (Perhaps the Brits would have taken it…). Hawaii would have remained an independent monarchy.

Thomas asks…

how do i find a family member who lives in mexico?

I am looking for my father in veracruz, mexico.

Tijuana answers:

Google their state registration offices, or Inland Revenue offices.
You could place an ad in the newspaper,
good luck.

Donna asks…

how do i track a parcel being sent via royal mail from the uk to mexico?

i sent a parcel from the royal mail post office and it says received by the overseas postal service i now want to see where my parcel is in mexico but don’t know were to track it. royal mail said to check the mexican website

Tijuana answers:

Http://www.sepomex.gob.mx/ServiciosLinea/Paginas/cemsmexpost.aspx

use google to translate it but Correos de México is the Mexican Postal service.

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