clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Saving America: What would have happened if...

The miracle of a summer fog

The setting, in brief: In July 1776, the Continental Congress adopted

the Declaration of Independence, formally "dissolving the connection"

with Great Britain. In August, the resolve of the new country was

severely tested when the Army, under the direction of George

Washington, found itself in precarious circumstances on Long Island,

defeated in battle, "facing a superior force, and with only one route

of retreat — over the East River."

As the British prepared for a final assault, a freak summer storm blew

in, halting their advance. And, as the American Army began what seemed

like a hopeless retreat over the river, they were enshrouded by a

dense, and unlikely, summer fog, allowing the troops to make their way

to safety.

Questions to ponder: What if the nor'easter had not kicked up and British warships had been able to move up the river?

What if the Continental Army had not been able to escape?

What if Washington, who was determined to be the last man out, had been captured or killed?

Was there anyone with the skill and capability to replace Washington?

Would the infant nation have been forced to sue for peace?

Would the Colonies have been able to stay united and eventually come up

with a document as remarkable as the Constitution to govern them?

The miracle of Lincoln and Gettysburg

The setting, in brief: Things had not been going all that well for the

North by the fall of 1862. Defeats, disorganization, unpopular policies

were taking their toll. After the bloody battle of Antietam, Abraham

Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, a move that was

disapproved of by many in his own party.

However, Gen. George B. McClellan failed to follow up on the victory,

and things again reached a crisis point by the next summer, when the

South's armies were again marching north, threatening to capture

Washington, D.C., itself.

On July 1, the armies met at Gettysburg, and Lincoln turned to his God

for help. His prayers were answered in the seminal defeat of Lee's


Questions to ponder: What if there had been no Abraham Lincoln?

What if a lesser man had occupied the White House?

What if the Union would have failed and the Confederacy prevailed?

What if slavery had continued indefinitely?

What if the Constitution was dismissed not only at home but around the world as a failed experiment in democracy?

What if, therefore, freedom was halted around the world?

What if the United States became balkanized, with not only the South,

but perhaps Texas, the West, even the Mormons and others setting up

their own governments?

© 2010 Deseret News Publishing Company | All rights reserved