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What if Tarleton had captured Jefferson?

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message 1: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Alther (hawkbrother) | 3 comments First off,I live in Charlottesville, Va where as they say people talk about Thomas Jefferson "as if he were in the next room."
Which brings us to a "what if?" In the American Revolution British colonel Banastre Tarlton led a raid on Charlottesville to capture Thomas Jefferson and other Virginia leaders. He was thwarted by Jack Jouett who rode all night to warn Jefferson who escaped Monticello just in time.
Suppose Jefferson had been captured. Tarleton was known to be ruthless, was known as "Bloody Tarleton." He might have executed Jefferson. Or sent him back to England for trial for treason and rebellion. Or maybe held him hostage in an attempt to get the rebels to lay down their arms.
Assuming he had been executed what would it have done to the war effort? Would it have been demoralizing, or would having as a martyr the man who penned the Declarationn of Independence caused the colonists to intensify their efforts?
Or assume they did gain independence. There would have no Jefferson presidency. He would not have founded the University of Virginia. What about the Louisana Purchase, the crowning achievement of his administration?
One final comment. People have noted that Jack Jouett did not get the recognition he deserved because he had no Longfellow to immortalize his ride like Longfellow did with Paul Revere's. Yet his ride may have been even more important for the outcome of the war and the future of the country.


message 2: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 22 comments Mod
Patrick wrote: "First off,I live in Charlottesville, Va where as they say people talk about Thomas Jefferson "as if he were in the next room."
Which brings us to a "what if?" In the American Revolution British c..."


I vote for no real change. Western expansion would have a different person (Aaron Burr?) driving it and our diplomatic history with France would have been different. We might have joined the British to fight the French!


message 3: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Alther (hawkbrother) | 3 comments That of course assumes the colonists were successful in their fight for independence. If they had not been the future approach of the British Empire toward its possessions might have been totally different.
There would probably have been the same reprisals against the rebels as there were in the unsuccessful Irish revolt of 1798.
If they had become independent, lots of what ifs. Maybe John Adams would have served two terms as President. Maybe no Burr/Hamilton duel and either or both of them might have become President.


message 4: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 22 comments Mod
Patrick wrote: "That of course assumes the colonists were successful in their fight for independence. If they had not been the future approach of the British Empire toward its possessions might have been totally d..."

I don't know a lot of the history of Virginia. It isn't taught in Texas. But for Tarleton to be in Virginia it was probably when Cornwallis came north. At this point in time, I don't see Jefferson being that important in the war, so I think the war still finishes with American liberty.


message 5: by Loren (new)

Loren | 5 comments While I agree about the University of Virginia, I do not think that an Adams Presidency would have looked at Napoleon's offer of all of Louisiana and turned it down. Perhaps I'm just a bigger Adams fan then a Jefferson fan but I do believe that Adams probably would have served another term without too much difference.

What might have been different in that timeline is:
1) With a two term federalist president, what would happen to the Virginia Dynasty (Madison-Monroe) that led to Andrew Jackson?
2) I don't think the War would have been changed, Jefferson was a horrible governor and played no role in the eventual Southern Strategy.
But what would have happened to French-American relations in the early history? Adams was an Angliophile and really distrusted the French, especially with their descent into madness
3)Would the War of 1812/Barbary Pirates incidents eventually have gone differently because of Adams' actions as President? Jefferson had begun the navy that would be used so effectively by Adams to deal with the Tripoli pirates but then Jefferson cut back the navy and army. Would a better equipped army/navy from Adams have led to better result for us?
and I guess one more
4) Would John Quincy Adams have become president?


message 6: by Josh (new)

Josh Liller (joshism) The Charlottesville Raid was between Guilford Courthouse and Yorktown, so yes late in the war. Too late in the war to make any difference, though it probably turns him into a martyr.

Tarleton would be even more infamous than he is now. Would he have made it out of Yorktown alive? IRL, he was captured and paroled along with the rest of Cornwallis' army but angry soldier(s) might have killed him after he surrendered. Not sure if that affects US-England relations.

While it probably has no real effect on the Revolutionary War's outcome, I'm not sure about post-Revolution politics but it would surely be significant.

The absence of Jefferson absolutely affects Madison's rise somehow.

Jefferson was also a major opponent of the Alien & Sedition Acts. Without him, the Federal government possibly has more power than IRL and States Rights are weaker. As a result possibly the Civil War does not occur or fewer states succeed, plus some 20th century presidents like FDR push the US to more of a socialist democracy ala much of modern Europe.

Burr and Jefferson were also very close contenders for the election of 1800. With no Jefferson it's quite possible Burr is the clear candidate and becomes President. (Assuming no 2nd term for Adams, who might've had an easier time without Jefferson as a major opponent.)


message 7: by Grey (new)

Grey Wolf | 4 comments Slightly tangental, but I recently visited the Herefordshire Church where Banastre Tarleton is buried and remembered on a large memorial. It also sells books of his life. Quite fascinating insight into the ARW, considering its from a little village in nowhere in particular (albeit on Watling Street).


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