Alternate US history: A Presidential What If?

Granted, this may be just too massive a topic for one thread, but I was just thinking about how different the United States might have been had presidential elections gone the other way:

  1. John Adams, Federalist (1789-1797)
  2. Thomas Jefferson, Dem/Rep (1797-1801)
  3. Aaron Burr, Dem/Rep (1801-1805)
  4. C.C. Pinckney, Federalist (1805-1813)
  5. DeWitt Clinton, Federalist (1813-1817)
  6. Rufus King, Federalist (1817-1821)
  7. John Q. Adams, Dem/Rep (1821-1825)
  8. Andrew Jackson, Dem/Rep (1825-1829)
  9. John Q. Adams, National Republican (1829-1833)
  10. Henry Clay, National Republican (1833-1837)
  11. William Henry Harrison, Whig (1837-1841)
  12. Martin Van Buren, Democrat (1841-1845)
  13. Henry Clay, Whig (1845-1849)
  14. Lewis Cass, Democrat (1849-1853)
  15. Winfield Scott, Whig (1853-1857)
  16. John C. Frémont, Republican (1857-1861)
  17. J. C. Breckinridge, Democrat (1861-1865)
  18. George B. McClellan, Democrat (1865-1969)
  19. Horatio Seymour, Democrat (1869-1873)
  20. Thomas A. Hendricks, Democrat (1873-1877)
  21. Samuel J. Tilden, Democrat (1877-1881)
  22. Winfield S. Hancock, Democrat (1881-1885)
  23. James G. Blaine, Republican (1885-1889)
  24. Grover Cleveland, Democrat (1889-1893)
  25. Benjamin Harrison, Republican (1893-1897)
  26. William J. Bryan, Democrat (1897-1905)
  27. Alton B. Parker, Democrat (1905-1909)
  28. William J. Bryan, Democrat (1909-1913)
  29. Theodore Roosevelt, Progressive (1913-1917)
  30. Charles E. Hughes, Republican (1917-1921)
  31. James M. Cox, Democrat (1921-1925)
  32. John W. Davis, Democrat (1925-1929)
  33. Alfred E. Smith, Democrat (1929-1933)
  34. Herbert C. Hoover, Republican (1933-1937)
  35. Alfred M. Landon, Republican (1937-1941)
  36. Wendell L. Willkie, Republican (1941-1945)
  37. Thomas E. Dewey, Republican (1945-1953)
  38. Adlai E. Stevenson, Democrat (1953-1961)
  39. Richard M. Nixon, Republican (1961-1965)
  40. Barry M. Goldwater, Republican (1965-1969)
  41. Hubert H. Humphrey, Democrat (1969-1973)
  42. George McGovern, Democrat (1973-1977)
  43. Gerald R. Ford, Republican (1977-1981)
  44. James E. Carter, Jr., Democrat (1981-1985)
  45. Walter F. Mondale, Democrat (1985-1989)
  46. Michael S. Dukakis, Democrat (1989-1993)
  47. George H. W. Bush, Republican (1993-1997)
  48. Robert Dole, Republican (1997-2001)
  49. Al Gore, Democrat (2001-

Would have been quite a different country, don’t you think…

Well, we certainly would have missed out on a couple of the worst presidents we’ve had (FDR and LBJ spring to mind) and added at least one of the best non-winner we’ve had run (Goldwater).

In order to be consistent election no. 17. would need to be Steven Douglas who, though he won the electoral votes of only 2 states, actually pulled in almost 2x the popular vote of Breckinridge (30 to 18% of the pv respectively).

If Burr did not proclaim himself Empower or something, that 1860 election is where the shape of our History would have definitely deformed … I wonder if there would have been a civil war at all at that point?
Of course If it was all the same until 1864, if McClellan had won and sued for peace it all would have unwound.

Thought provoking thread! Esp. If just one or 2 elections switched …

I know its all theoretical, but…

        The list probably would have not gone this way.  You can't just switch the winner and losers because it affects the outcome of later elections.  For example, you have Carter president from 1981-1985, but he likely would not have been nominated in 1980 had he not been President already from 1976-1980.  Changing one outcome in a sequence changes more than just than single election.  They are all linked.  Or if you assume Carter is elected in 1981, Mondale most certainly would not have then been elected in 1984 because Carter would be the sitting President and the likely Democratic nominee.  You can argue about a single election being flipped, but its hard to imagine a "mirror image" US history like this occuring.

It’s too massive a topic for one thread! Pick out four or five elections that could plausibly have gone the other way. Or maybe, phrase the question, “Which election would have been best for the world if it had gone the other way?” (And probably exclude any election before 1970, to prevent partisan ranting.) Or alternatively, “When did the American people best demonstrate their wisdom, by preventing disastrous consequences if an election had gone the other way?”


If John Adams was the first president then probably the military who backed George Washington would have rebelled and the country wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.

Or maybe not.

Look around for a copy of Alternate Presidents edited by Mike Resnick. It is out of print now, but it is an anthology where each writer takes one presidential election and writes a short story about what the opponent won. Some really good stories in it.