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Hosea Blackford

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Hosea Blackford
Fictional Character
Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): How Few Remain;
Breakthroughs
through
The Victorious Opposition
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: United States
Religion: Protestant
Date of Birth: 1860?
Date of Death: 1937
Cause of Death: Natural Causes
Occupation: Politician
Spouse: Flora Blackford
Children: Joshua Blackford
Affiliations: Socialist Party

Hosea Blackford (1860?[1]-1937) a lawyer and Socialist politician from Dakota. He served as the 30th President of the United States (1929-1933, the second Socialist to hold the office), and before that, the country's first Socialist Vice President (1921-1929). His one term as President was marred by the stock market crash and the Pacific War.

His wife was fellow representative and storied politician, Flora Hamburger.

Early Years and Entry into PoliticsEdit

Blackford was inspired to enter politics by chance. While mining in Montana Territory in the fall of 1881, he listened to a speech given by former president Abraham Lincoln in Helena. Afterwards, by chance, both men were on a train headed for Dakota Territory. They conversed about Lincoln's positions regarding labor. Blackford agreed with most of Lincoln's opinions, and thanked Lincoln for helping Blackford articulate his own concerns about the inequality of the classes in the U.S.[2] In later years, Blackford told his future wife, Flora Hamburger, that Lincoln had "opened his eyes" during that conversation.

Blackford entered politics eventually being elected as U.S. Representative from Dakota, one the few Socialists in Congress before the Great War. In 1917, he became friendly with freshman New York Representative Flora Hamburger, herself a committed Socialist, adamantly opposed to the Great War. Despite the differences in their ages, their politics (Flora was far more radical) and their religion (Flora was Jewish) their friendship blossomed into a romantic one, and they married.

Vice PresidentEdit

By 1918, with the United States victory in the Great War, the political tides in the country had shifted. That year, for the first time in the country's history, the Socialists won a majority in Congress, breaking the Democrats' monopoly on power. In 1920, Blackford was asked by Upton Sinclair to be the Socialists' Vice Presidential nominee. The Socialists won the 1920 election, defeating incumbent Democrat Theodore Roosevelt, who was running for a third term. Sinclair and Blackford were re-elected in 1924. Blackford described the job as being a "$12,000 a year hatrack."

PresidentEdit

In 1928, Blackford accepted the Socialist Party nomination for President. With eight years of prosperity under Sinclair to campaign on, Blackford successfully depicted his Democratic opponent, Calvin Coolidge, as a regressive. Blackford narrowly won the election and became the 30th president. When Coolidge phoned Blackford to concede, he predicted that the bull market could not last and that a dramatic crash was certain. Blackford naively dismissed Coolidge's predictions believing that the Socialists had enacted adequate safety measures.

However, history proved Coolidge right as an economic panic and subsequent stock market crash came in mid-1929. The blame was laid at Blackford's feet. Shantytowns of unemployed people in the United States become known as Blackfordburghs, whose names mocked the failure of the Blackford Presidency. In response he passed make-work legislation, which proved both costly and ineffective.

Things were made even worse for Blackford in 1932 when the USS Remembrance caught a disguised Japanese ship supplying weapons to Canada's resistance. The Japanese attacked the Remembrance, and the Pacific War began. Blackford's hopes of reelection were completely crushed, when, during a rally for Blackford in Los Angeles, the Japanese carried out an air-raid on the city. Blackford immediately rolled back the military budget cuts that had been instituted under Sinclair, but the war quickly stalemated on the high seas.

Defeat and RetirementEdit

Blackford was easily defeated by Coolidge for the Presidency in 1932. (Coolidge did not actually become President, dying of a heart attack on January 5, 1933, when he was still president-elect.) Blackford retired to Dakota, and then returned to New York City and Philadelphia with his wife, Flora, when she was reelected to Congress.

Despite Blackford's failures, the Democrats under president Herbert Hoover (who served a full term in place of the late Coolidge) proved just as incapable of solving the depression. Thus, Blackford lived to see the Socialists regain power, with the election of Al Smith as president in 1936. However, Blackford died shortly after, in 1937. Former presidents Hoover and Sinclair were among his pall-bearers. President Smith had been invited to join in that group but, citing preexisting commitments, sent Vice President Charles W. La Follette in his place.

He and Flora had one son, Joshua, who served in the United States Army during the Second Great War.

See AlsoEdit

  • Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, who, like Blackford was elected in 1928 in OTL, and whose presidency was also doomed by the Great Depression. Like Blackford, Hoover was a one-term President. In Southern Victory, Hoover himself becomes President after Calvin Coolidge dies of a heart attack while President-elect, accidentally succeeding Blackford.

ReferencesEdit

Political offices
(Southern Victory)
Preceded by
Upton Sinclair
President of the United States
1929-1933
Succeeded by
Herbert Hoover
Preceded by
Walter McKenna
Vice President of the United States
1921-1929
Succeeded by
Hiram Johnson
Party political offices
(Southern Victory)
Preceded by
Upton Sinclair
Socialist Party Presidential Candidate
1928 (won), 1932 (lost)
Succeeded by
Al Smith
Preceded by
Unknown
Socialist Party Vice Presidential Candidate
1920 (won), 1924 (won)
Succeeded by
Hiram Johnson

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